This Week's Gospel Message
*Peruse the readings below, then read the gospel message.
*This week's message is taken from the Extraordinary form: Second
Sunday of Advent.
Painting: John the Baptist in Prison, by Josef Anton Hafner
This Week's Message:
The Sacrificial Love We Express for Jesus
is Never Given in Vain
As he prepared to die for the love of Christ almost 2000 years ago, John the Baptist -- the great herald of Christ mentioned implicitly by the prophet Isaiah (see Is. 40:3) -- longed for reassurance from Jesus that He was the Messiah. Weary, worn and anticipating a horrible death, John wanted to be certain that the sacrificial love he was about to express for Jesus wouldn't be given in vain. The reassurance Jesus gave to John is presented to us today by the Church to remind us that Jesus indeed IS the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and that all sacrificial love expressed for Him is never given in vain!
Within the framework of two central themes -- loving Christ totally and being repentant -- today's gospel reading recalls a conversation between Jesus, the disciples of John and the crowds following Jesus in Galilee to make these theological points to all disciples of Christ:
1. The works of Jesus, works of benevolent love, point to his divinity, for Jesus healed all who came into contact with Him on several levels -- emotionally, physically, spiritually. Indeed, all who expressed faith in Jesus were wondrously changed by their encounter with Him, for they were healed physically, and spiritually gained rebirth through expressed faith in Jesus as the Christ (and John too was comforted and strengthened by the words of Christ). All were transformed by their encounter with Him.
2. The words of Jesus to John through John's disciples are truly meant for us today: we are reassured that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Son of David (Messiah) not just the son of Abraham (see Mt. 1:1); we are to witness to others, to tell them about the powerful works Jesus has performed and continues to perform in our lives and in the lives of others!
3. We, also, at baptism, were made prophets for Christ (see Lk. 1:25-36). Like John the Baptist we are called not to be swayed (influenced) by the powers that be (reeds swayed by the wind) nor to seek material wealth but to be messengers of Christ, to prepare the minds and hearts of others to receive Christ by holding fast to and teaching the moral and faith truths we've received from the Apostles.1
4. According to Jesus, of all men born under the stain of original sin (of women, without God's intervention) none is greater than John (reached or will reach a higher stage of Christian perfection than John). Yet, because it's such a privilege to gain the state of being we call heaven and because every soul that attains that state practices sacrificial love -- self-denial for the love of God and welfare of others -- the least in that state of being feels like he is the greatest (in stature).
5. It takes courage to act as John the Baptist acted: to teach the moral truths of the faith and let Jesus Christ, the truth within us, shine through our words and actions!
This week, let us frequently recall John's courageous example, teach and live the moral truths of our faith and witness to the divinity of Jesus as we prepare to celebrate His birth. Further, let us always keep in mind that the sacrificial love we daily express for Christ is never given in vain!
"Go and tell...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."
- Matthew 11:5
To Jesus Christ alone be all glory!
This Week's Gospel Message is written by
Michael Ruggiero, Director
Master of Arts degree,
and Christian Ministry
*This material is protected by Copyright. Duplication in any form, without the express, written consent of Michael Ruggiero and CES is prohibited. To gain permission for duplication you must E-mail your request, stating the purpose for use, to Michael1@catholicsociety.org. Written permission must be received before consent is given. Author credit must be given in every instance. Copyright 2017. CES All rights reserved.