Third Week of Advent: Sunday
Reading: Matthew 11: 2-11
John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’
As the messengers were leaving, 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 wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you:
He will prepare your way before you.’
‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’
In this reflection, Jesus honours John as the greatest of the prophets. His mission was to call the people to conversion so that they may recognise and welcome the Messiah. However, he reminds them that the least in the kingdom is greater than John. He always points to the ‘little ones,’ it is they who have always shown faith and belief in God as demonstrated in Mark 5: 21-43. Here we learn about the healing of the Centurion’s servant and the woman afflicted by a chronic haemorrhage. On another occasion He directs his disciples to ‘let the children come to me’ Matthew 19:14 because it is to them that the kingdom of God belongs. Jesus always seeks out and honours the humble. When humility and deep faith are the hallmark of our lives, we too will be able to share in his ministry of healing the sick, empowering the deaf through good service provision and enabling the disabled to have a better quality of life. A gospel of comfort will be shared with the bereaved knowing that their loved ones are released from all suffering and are at peace with God.