Fr. Warren's Week Reflection: Signs for All to See?
Signs for All to See?
gospel tells us of John the Baptist in his prison. He's puzzled. Maybe a
little disappointed. Like many Jews, he expected the Messiah to be a
fiery social reformer. He does not quite see this in Jesus, but he isn't
sure, and so he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you the promised
Messiah or do we have to look for another?"
does not come out with a flat 'yes'. He invites John to answer his own
questions. He tells the questioners, "Look around and see for
yourselves. Remember the prediction of Isaiah, the works the Messiah
will perform at his coming, then the eyes of the blind shall be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame leap like a
deer, and the tongue of the dumb leap for joy?" In that light, Jesus
says, "Go and tell John what you hear and see. The blind received
their sight, and the lame walk. Lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear.
The dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them."
Very simple, Jesus answers John. "Do you want to know if the Christ has
come? Look around you. The signs are there for all to see."
an unbeliever were to come to ask you for evidence that the Messiah had
come, what sign would you point to? Where is the Kingdom, the peace,
the redemption promised in the Old Testament? Where is the Kingdom of
Truth and Life? Where is the Kingdom of Holiness and Grace? Where is
the Kingdom of Justice, Love and Peace? Where is it? That does not
sound like our world. The world we see night after night on the evening
news or read in our papers. Can these be the Messianic times? When
three out of every four human beings do not know Christ? When one out of
every four goes to bed hungry in this land of plenty? Our infant
mortality rate is higher than Cuba's? When violence is a way of life
and the numbers of the drug addicted grow daily, and we build more
prisons? In a world that has been redeemed by Christ, why are so many
people so ruthless, so pitiless, so loveless? Did Christ's coming make
any difference in our world? The answer is that without Christ, nothing
would make sense at all.
the most wonderful words ever written by our Church come to us from
Vatican II. The document reads, "The joys and hopes, the griefs and the
anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are
poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys and hopes, the
griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ." The Church is
believable when its love is visible. Sometimes we fail to realize that
we are the Church, and what we do the Church does, and what we fail to
do, the Church fails to do, and as Christians, we have an awesome
responsibility, ever since Christ left this world. It is we who have to
let the world see that He who is to come has actually come, and that He
is still here, and that He made a difference.
are the works that reveal or conceal Him, because of us, people should
know or at least suspect that Christ came on this earth for them. That
He lived and died for them. You may not be able to reveal Him as
radically as a Francis or a Paul, but, by the way we live our everyday
lives, people should know that we follow the one who said, "I am the
way, the truth and the life." We need to realize that every day, some
part of God's reign is happening even as much suffering remains. The
biblical prophesies are being fulfilled, there is hope in the valley of
tears. The blind are given their sight, not only in hospitals, but in
schools and wherever a child or adult is taught the miracle of reading.
am privileged to know many people who work miracles every day. There
are many Mother Teresas in the world. God's Kingdom is indeed being
built. There are many, many instances of people helping people. As time
goes on, you come to realize that our lives and human history is made up
of light and darkness. Terrible things and wonderful things. Finally,
we make a choice, on the one hand, we can give up on God and all the
nice promises we read in the Bible.
gospel for this third Sunday of Advent would indicate that John the
Baptist was close to giving up. Here you see him, the prisoner of a
despotic king, soon to die because of the whim of a young girl who asks
for his head on a platter. No wonder he utters a cry of near despair,
"Are you He who is to come or do we look for another." At times we echo
that cry or feel discouragement, but on the other hand, we can see the
good things that are happening in the world, and the people who are
Christ's own, making them happen. People who know that many things on
this earth are precious. Some are even holy, but humanity is holy of
is no way to explain the Mother Teresas in this world and all those
countless numbers who unselfishly do the work of the Lord on Earth. They
are heroes and selfless people who possess that power that believers
call the presence of God or His spirit... His grace. The goodness of
those who follow Him or do His work is a sign of the Kingdom, a sign
that He is alive.
all have to ask ourselves from time to time, does our faith life reveal
to anyone that Christ's Kingdom is in the making, that the prophesies
are being fulfilled now with our help? Does our faith redeem anyone from
enslavement? Does it help feed anyone? Heal anyone? Can they point to
you as a sign of the Kingdom?
the Scriptures we read, the Virgin shall be with Child and give birth
to a Son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel... a name which means God is
with us. God is with us through it all. With that knowledge, can we say
with Mary, "Be it done unto me according to Your word"?