Third week of Advent
Gospel: Lk 7: 24-30
When the messengers of John the Baptist had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see B a reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom Scripture says: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you. I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.” (All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves.)
THE LEAST IS GREATER THAN JOHN: On December 6th, 2019, Agasso, a Vatican correspondent for La Stampa reported that in 2004, a two-year old Argentine (Tomasito), was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Cardinal Bergoglio (later Pope Francis), had visited this boy severally and was deeply moved by the boy’s serenity and faith, despite the illness. Nearing his death, Argentine expressed his desire to be buried in Vatican. After his death on July 20, 2013, his wish was granted; he had requested in faith. After death of prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, for 400 years, Israel did not have prophets. John the Baptist came as a fulfilment of the Old Testament to prepare the way for the Messiah. So he became the greatest of all prophets. Nevertheless, the one who enters the Kingdom of God is greater than John. Seeking Divine greatness, let us have faith in Jesus the only door to Heaven.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith in you that I am able to enter the Kingdom of God.
LETTING HIM IN AND LETTING HIM BE: Samson is the one assigned to deliver the Israelites from deadly Philistines. His bearing and birth from a “barren mother” and from unfamiliar circumstances happened according to God’s designs. Blessed by God, the spirit of God was active in Samson. The Birth of John the Baptist and the events associated with it can be seen a parallel to that of Samson. Here was Zechariah in the innermost parts of God’s temple having a vision of the Lord. The angel in a long conversation promises him a son, who would herald the Son of God. God’s revelations happen to only those who persist with God. Like Jacob in the desert, He has the courage to say, “I shall not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen 32: 26). Only when your faith helps you to rise above your personal tragedies and misfortunes will the gentle voice from God become audible. The unforeseen happens, the extraordinary takes place when you open up to God and let God take control of the situation. Let us not say I am in control; I am a self – made success anymore.
GOD MAKES STRAIGHT WITH CROOKED LINES: In the genealogy of Jesus there are five women mentioned: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. The presence of women in the genealogy indicates an irregularity. In fact, each of these women and/or the way they conceived a child has a story. When God became human he embraced the human family with all its flaws. Yet, He sanctifies it. Matthew concludes the list of the names pointing out that from Abraham to Jesus there were three sets of fourteen generations. Fourteen divided by two is seven. Seven is a number of perfection! Yes, God makes straight with crooked lines. He sanctifies the defects created by human choices.