Third Sunday of Advent
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?"
Jesus said to them in reply, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."
How many people were regaining their sight? How many walked, or were cleansed, or began to hear? How many dead were raised? And what was the good news being proclaimed to the poor?
We have heard this scripture reading multiple times in our lives, how have we not been astounded and perplexed by it? Jesus, in whom others experienced ordinariness, was healing and changing people in the most extraordinary ways. Jesus, without proclaiming the power and love that pulsed through every cell of his being, was fulfilling the words of Isaiah,
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
This is exciting stuff! Imagine the joy of the individuals who were changed, imagine the relief of their families and communities who have supported and cared for them, imagine the paradigm shift created by the healing of the least among us, the outcasts, the sinners, the beggars…the unworthy made whole by this seemingly simple ordinary man.
For many of us, the excitement has worn off…it is just not that astounding or perplexing because… well…this is Jesus, the Son of God, so we kind of expect it. Oh, my sisters and brothers, it is time to wake up…time for us to see, hear, walk, be cleansed, and be raised…from our lack of excitement about and connection to the healing, life-altering mission of Jesus! This Advent can be a new moment for us… a time of embracing the mission of Jesus and allowing ourselves to be embraced by its passion, urgency, and power.
We are called to be Christ. Plain and simple…we are called, baptized, confirmed, and missioned to be the Christ energy in our world with the same single-heartedness of Jesus.
We, through the power of God’s action in us, are the ones to heal the blindness created by racism, sexism, ageism, and other systems that oppress people.
We, through the power of God’s action in us, are the ones to end deafness to the suffering of those at the border, in Haiti, in Palestine, in our homes, families, and communities.
We, through the power of God’s action in us, are the ones to help those who are rendered lame by unfair economic policies, crippled educational systems, unresponsive church leaders, and corrupt politicians.
We, through the power of God’s action in us, are the ones to proclaim the good news to the poor, proclaim the good news to those disconnected, proclaim the good news to the soulless.
This Advent time is one of watchful waiting, deep preparation, opening ourselves fully to the God who chooses to dwell with us. It is a time to ready ourselves to work as Jesus worked…powerful and faith-filled…in bringing God’s vision and kindom into every circle of human activity…relational, political, spiritual, economic, healthcare and educational.
Mary Feigen, OP, Dominican Sisters of Hope