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Third Sunday of Advent - A

The hour is coming and is nearly here. We have only a short wait left until the Lord arrives. When the people were awaiting the Messiah, he promised to send a messenger to prepare the way. So, who did they go out to see? They hear a voice crying out in the desert to make straight the path of the Lord.




Why did the people go out into the desert to see John? He is a poor man, dressed roughly. Did they go to see a fine man dressed richly? A king? A prince? No. They seek a messiah, a prophet. They do find a prophet, but not a messiah. He is the one foretold by Malachi: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.


But, John knew that Jesus was the lamb of God. Why then did he send his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one? Was he uncertain? Perhaps his disciples pestered him and it was a way to show them that Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. He answers them by pointing them to Jesus himself.



When John’s followers find Jesus he answers their question in an indirect way. He talks about the things he has done. The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed. These surely are miraculous, but are they signs of the Messiah? Certainly those he was talking to would understand his reference to the prophet Isaiah. God comes with vindication and divine recompense to save you! What is the sign of His salvation? The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap and the mute will sing! Isaiah reminds us that we need to stay strong, to not be afraid. Our Lord is coming to save you.


The Psalmist also tells us that the Messiah will set the prisoners free, open the eyes of the blind and lift up those who are bowed down. Why put your trust in princes who cannot save? They will perish from the earth. Praise the Lord! Sing his praises for he has sent to us a marvelous a savior! Oh Happy fault which earn us so great, so glorious a Redeemer! Jesus proclaims the good news of His saving mercy!


John points both them and us beyond himself to Jesus. John is the greatest of those born of woman and yet he loudly proclaims, Jesus must increase and he must decrease. We also must decrease and let the Lord increase in our lives. We must die to sin so we might live in Christ Jesus. He sends us, the Church, to proclaim this gospel to every nation.

As we proclaim Jesus is Lord, we wait for his return. James implores us to be patient. We are waiting for the Messiah and the time is coming near. We need only wait a little longer. Our judge is coming, standing before the gates. The coming of the Lord is at hand, are we prepared to welcome Him?


 

The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! 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.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.


-Isaiah 35:1-6,10


 

Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.


-James 5: 7-10


 

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."

As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, "What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out?  To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."


-Matthew 11:2-11

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