Homily for the third Sunday of Advent - Year A - Mt. 11:2-11
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, «Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?» And Jesus answered them, «Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.»
 
" As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: «What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee." (Mal. 3:1) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, «Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?» And Jesus answered them, «Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.» "
 
John the Baptist is in prison. Herod no longer tolerated him, for John the Baptist reproached him for living with his brother's wife... But this did not stop the Precursor of the Messiah from continuing his mission, thanks to the help of his disciples... He is like Saint Paul who, writing from prison, continues to preach the gospel of the Resurrection: "Timothy, remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered." (2 Tim. 2:8-9)
 
Even in prison, John hears and sees what Jesus does: his disciples tell him of Christ's miracles, his "works"! John sees and hears, through the walls of his cell, all that the Word of Life, the incarnate Word of the Father, accomplishes in the world, in order to manifest the presence of the Divinity among men! For Jesus gives sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, not only to remedy human suffering, but even more to show the entire world that the Kingdom of God is here!
 
Seeing and hearing! Jesus insists on these two verbs: seeing and hearing! Jesus gives sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and thus manifests the coming of the Kingdom of God. For, all the eternal Life that Jesus came to bring us and to reveal to us consists in this: seeing and hearing! "That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,... that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you." (1 Jn. 1:1-3) Eternally, in Heaven, we will see God, and we will hear his Word of Life!
 
" As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee." (Mal. 3:1) Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.» "
 
Now Jesus turns to John the Baptist, and describes him to his listeners. He asks them what they went to see, what they went to hear... And Jesus replies on behalf of his listeners: what you went to see is at once everything and nothing, at once the greatest of the children of men and women, and yet the most inferior to the least of the elect of God!
 
John the Baptist is the greatest of all the prophets, for he announces and reveals to the Jewish People the Messiah, the Lamb of God: "Behold, the Lamb of God!" (Jn. 1:29) And yet he is nothing, for it is Jesus who is "the prophet who is to come into the world" (Jn. 6:14). The voice of John the Baptist is lost in the almighty Word of the Son of God! Finally, John the Baptist will say: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Jn. 3:30)
 
This is the vocation of us all: to be a prophet, to be an interpreter of the Word of God who is Christ. All of our life must reflect the Love of God who is in us, in order that the world might convert and know that the Kingdom of God is here, in Christ and his Church! May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary help us through her almighty intercession with the Heart of Jesus!
 

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