Advent Week 3: Gospel Reflection for December 15, 2019

Matthew 11:2-11

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.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Sunday Gospel Reflection

Sunday, December 15, 2019

by Nancy Rowen, SNDdeN

In today’s Gospel, “When John in prison heard the works of the Christ…” Matthew recognizes Jesus as the long-awaited Anointed One, come to set God’s people free. Chapters 8 and 9 are filled with detailed testimonies of Jesus of Nazareth who “went everywhere, teaching, proclaiming and curing” with a word or a touch…. all descriptive of The Messiah who acts with great power and the Spirit of God upon him.

Jesus simply reports to John all the transformations in the blind, deaf, outcasts, the poor, even the dead. When he points to John the Baptist he asks, “What did you expect”?

Last Sunday, I had a brief glimpse of that hoped-for Kingdom of peace, justice, love and joy, the promise of life to the full, for all people. Mine is a large city of many cultures and national origins with generations of us spread across the wide spectrum of life experiences.

This year, our parish music director initiated a “bell choir” for Christmastime. Anyone who wanted to join automatically qualified. Fifteen showed up for rehearsal, a motley group of women and men, each with a name tag, each given only one note to play. All belonged and had a place. As we practiced striking first single notes, then rhythms and chords in sync, we heard the most beautiful sounds like great cathedral organ peals and chimes at the climax of a glorious anthem. Instinctively, we burst into applause, surprised and pleased at the beauty we had created together. The director and we laughed out loud from joy!!! – sure evidence of God at work… among us!

Each of us, small and great, belongs to God’s Family. None too old, and none too young; no one is beyond God’s healing reach. Can we see Jesus, The Christ, come among us and God’s Kingdom with him in the still dark places of our lives and times? Can we recognize others around us as channels of that same great Love at work in surprising ways? Can we see what God has done, is doing, wants to accomplish in and through each of us? Let this be our advent prayer:

“Lord of life and light, help us not to fall in love with the darkness that separates us from You and from each other; but to watch large-eyed, wide-hearted, open-handed, eager-minded for You; to dream and hunger and squint and pray for the light of You and life for each other.” Remembering that “we are God’s Work of Art, we pray to trust “the long, slow Work of God”

With gratitude for:

  • Ted Loder’s “Gentle Me Open” in My Heart in My Mouth.
  • Paul in Ephesians 2:10; for Jeremiah’s image of the Potter’s vessel in Ch. 18:4-5;
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for his prayer poem, “Trust The Slow Work of God.”

Meet Nancy Rowen, SNDdeN

Nancy Rowen became a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur 60 years ago. She served as a high school teacher of Religion and Foreign Languages for many years. Then, she became a pastoral minister in the Church of Boston for over forty years. After Vatican Council II, serving also with the Cursillo and Ecumenical Movements, Sr. Nancy became interested in integrating life and faith through spiritual development. She welcomed new peoples and participated also in sacred, liturgical dance. Currently she shares life in community with four other Sisters.

Our thanks to the Congregational Mission Office of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, which publishes Gospel Reflections for Sundays and Feast Days.

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