3rd Week of Advent
1st Reading: Is 45:6c-8, 18, 21c-25
I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe; I, the LORD, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this. For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God, The designer and maker of the earth who established it, Not creating it to be a waste, but designing it be lived in: I am the LORD, and there is no other. Who announced this from the beginning and foretold it from of old? Was it not I, the LORD, besides whom there is no other God? There is no just and saving God but me. Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other! By myself I swear, uttering my just decree and my unalterable word: To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue shall swear, Saying, “Only in the LORD are just deeds and power. Before him in shame shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel.”
Gospel: Lk 7:18b-23
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to the Lord, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
ASSURANCE IN THE MIDST OF DOUBT: In the midst of crises such as illness, or personal suffering, many people turn to God to seek assurance and help, through prayer. However, sometimes the problem does not go away, however much one prays. In such moments, some people doubt the power and the goodness of the Lord. It is a moment of crisis in faith. Only God can assure and strengthen us in such moments of doubt. John the Baptist, a righteous and holy prophet of God, having been arrested and imprisoned because of his fidelity to God, experienced such moments of doubt. He turns to Jesus to seek assurance and consolation. Jesus grants John such assurance, by demonstrating God’s power and mighty before the eyes of John’s disciples. Believing in Jesus means believing in God who is the Almighty, the one who has come to save people.
Prayer: Strengthen my faith in you Lord.
DOUBT IN FAITH: John the Baptist and Jesus were relatives. John was in prison a reality that prevented him from being in touch with Jesus. While imprisoned, he was hearing of the good works done by a prophet. So he doubted whether Jesus was the expected one. He thus sent two of his disciples to Jesus to confirm. The disciples saw what Jesus was doing and heard what the people were speaking of Him. Jesus did not give the disciples, a long explanation but asked them to report to John what they had seen and heard. Doubt in faith is not opposite of faith, but opportunity to grow deeper in it. The remedy for doubt is in seeking the light. Jesus who is present in the Eucharist, in the Word of God and in community is the source of light. Let us seek Him in the right places.
PRAYER: Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear.
SIGNS OF THE PRESENCE OF THE MESSIAH: In the question of the disciples of John the Baptist is the desire to perceive the signs of the presence of the Messiah: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” These are for us the signs of the presence of the Son of the Living God. The Christmas that we are preparing ourselves for, is a celebration of these signs in our lives. These signs will become a reality in our lives if and when we really accept with all our heart that Jesus is the Son of God. Let the words of Isaiah that we heard read in the first reading today be mediated to us through Jesus, “I am the Lord, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe; I, the Lord, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. … I am the Lord, and there is no other.”