The Gospel according to Luke (7:24-30)
When the messengers of John the Baptist had left, 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 garments. Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom scripture says: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God, but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves.)
Reflection: The first part of today’s gospel made me think about how we, individually and collectively, search for someone who can help us, guide us to a “better place”. That could be prosperity, peace, redemption, or a new beginning. In our lives that may be a respected elder, teacher, clergy, religious or simply the current tide of our culture. Whether it is an active or passive search we all need help finding our way. But here is the problem with relying on someone, anyone for direction, sooner or later a weakness or deficiency is revealed and disappointment over unmet expectations often send us in a tailspin.
However, we must consider we too have imperfections and make mistakes. Maybe if the person or persons we trust for direction are sincere in their own pursuit of a better life their example coupled with our humility will lead us all to the only one who can fulfill our longing for purpose and meaning.
John was the one chosen by God to prepare the way for the ministry of His son Jesus.
The messiah was present and ready to engage in his mission of salvation. Soon, the blind had their sight restored, the deaf heard, the lame walked, and the poor had the good news proclaimed to them. Yet again, unmet expectations led to disappointment and confusion. Some, mostly those most in need of redemption were touched by the healing presence of the Savior while others, those whose hearts were hardened by self-righteousness rejected the healing they also needed.
Which are we? Do we have a desire for healing and recognize in ourselves the need for the merciful touch of Jesus. Or do our expectations cause us to close our hearts making it difficult to recognize the presence of Jesus in our lives. Like most we must admit at times we are one way and sometimes the other. Either way, if our pursuit for a better place is sincere and authentic, we will find our way home into the loving arms of the only one who we can depend on all the time.
Action of the Day: We too, like John the Baptist, are called to lead others to Christ. First by example, then through friendship, and finally with the grace of God be the light that draws others to seek the one who we long for deep in our hearts. Rejoice, the Lord is near!