Wednesday in the Third Week of Advent

Scripture Readings: Is 45:6b-8, 18. 21c-25;  Lk 7:18b-23

John’s disciples ask Jesus if He is the “One to come”. A simple “yes” or “no” would have answered it. But no.

Instead He said, “You do the math.” Tell John the evidence: people are having their burdens lifted and consequently they’re praising God. Let him arrive at his own conclusion. People who arrive at their own conclusion based on their lived experience become believers and followers. And they do it from the heart.

That’s how it came to me. A disenchanted priest I met in Boston once told me I needed to think outside the box. I told him thinking outside the box is for wimps; I lived outside the box. Inside the box is better.

Inside the box is better because that’s where the heart is. That’s where the burden is lifted. It is done to a person. One can never forget it.

That burden is felt when our behavior doesn’t match our beliefs. Jesus seems to say that we don’t see it, we don’t understand it, and we just can’t seem to do it. So, He makes the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk. For us the discrepancy revels what we care about and caring is the work of the heart. When we live by the heart we live with integrity…and that’s what Jesus came to give us. Integrity is when there is consistency between belief and behavior because we really, truly, deeply care. That’s why love is the greatest commandment.  Love binds what we know to the will to do it.


Wednesday in the Third Week of Advent

[Scripture Readings: Is 45:6b-8, 18,21b-25; Lk 7:18b-23]

When John the Baptist was imprisoned by King Herod, Jesus had the power to set him free but didn’t.  Instead he tells John, “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”  How can Jesus not set him free and then expect John to be happy about it, to take no offense that He who could do it, doesn’t do it?

It’s the question many of us ask when tragedy strikes: Why did God let this happen?  I think of the sudden death of one of our neighbors, Justin Shaffer, a sixteen-year-old boy who was killed in a car accident on Thanksgiving Day a few years ago.  Why did God let that happen?  Why didn’t his guardian angel protect him?  But Jesus calls us happy, if we do not take offense but wait with hope in his promise to raise us up and set us free from suffering and death forever. Our lifelong Advent of waiting and suffering will end when Jesus sets us free from this earthly life to begin eternal life with him in heaven.