We are at the Third Sunday of Advent and again John the Baptist s front and center. Today, John is in prison, probably in a depressed state and hearing about Jesus. He knew he was in trouble and probably felt his life was near an end. He had faithfully carried out his witness and his sometimes harsh denunciations of the way the Scribe and Pharisees carried out the practice of their religion. He spoke with the harshness of a prophet condemning unfaithfulness and prepare for a new age of the one to come. Yet, it seems even he had at least a few moments of doubt are a desire for reassurance that Jesus was the one. After all, throughout history and even in Jesus’ time there were all kinds and visions and ideas about what the Messiah would be and what he would do. Jesus did not fit into any of the molds that had been made. Jesus came, yes, for all, but most importantly he came for those most needing him and ready to accept him. The leaders, the priests, scribes and pharisees were pretty much self-satisfied and self-sufficient. Jesus came to spread and share God’s love, and to unburden the poor and those in any way trapped in a life of negativity and hopelessness.
Ironically, for many God was not the person they painted or fantasized to be, instead of meeting and knowing him as He was and is. Even today, at times our hearts are not open to his Spirit to meet and understand him and our lives in the here and now. God’s love is present and he is in the world, in our church in our very selves. If we come to know and share our life with him, life becomes much simpler, even in times of difficulty and indecision.
Throughout history, harshness and negativity and misunderstanding has entered even into the church. This should not surprise us since the church is human in many way. What is human can at times be faulted while at other time s good. In the very first century, Christians were seen as standing out because of the love that they showed. Christ calls us to that same love today, a love that seem to come forth every Christmas as people look around and in the joy of Christmas to share and help those who are less fortunate. As we move to Christmas, let resolve this year for once to try to continue that love and spirit of giving.