Third Week of Advent: Thursday
Reading: Luke 7:24-30
When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to talk to the people about John. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Oh no, those who go in for fine clothes and live luxuriously are to be found in court! Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
See, I am going to send my messenger before me;
he will prepare the way before you.
‘I tell you, of all the children born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is. All the people who heard him, and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God’s plan by accepting baptism from John; but by refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers had thwarted what God had in mind for them.’
In this passage of scripture, Jesus takes an opportunity to help the people to deepen their understanding of his mission. He acknowledges that John has played his part in salvation history by calling people to conversion and offering baptism to those who wished to receive it. John’s focus was never on himself but always pointed to Jesus, the fulfilment of the promise.
He reminds them to keep their hearts focused on God, not on superficial matters that could distract them from their search for the truth. He asks us to do the same. Failure to recognise and ask for the grace to deal with worldly distractions can thwart our spiritual journey and damage our relationship with God. He reminds them that the humble and pure of heart are very close to God and will help us on our spiritual adventure.