HOMILY & IDEAS

Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; James 5:7-10; Mt 11:2-11.

Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots for you.

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?

Many commentators have paused upon this verse to ponder this unique question delivered from John the Baptist to Jesus. One of the explanations of this question which seeks clarification is that John had expected the Christ to be identified by other actions. It is proposed that John expected the primary task of the Christ to be to carry out the final judgment and to destroy all that has not produced fruit.

John is hearing reports of a very different Messiah and he is puzzled.

when the question of John finally reaches Jesus through the disciples of John the answer comes:

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.

Is it any wonder John the Baptist is confused?

This may be a very good weekend to ponder our own vision of who Jesus is? This may be a good weekend to examine our own image of Jesus as we prepare for His coming and remind ourselves of this gift from God to the world.

Who is Jesus for you?

If you have spent years studying this question in seminary or graduate school the answers should come fast and furiously and chances are they will be very scholarly and bit sterile.

On the other hand, perhaps a person in your congregation has not thought about this question in a very long time. Sure the images of Jesus may appear everywhere in the life of a person (on walls, in pictures, in mosaics, on icons, on a crucifix that hangs around someones neck); however, His personal identity and how that identity personally and profoundly affects the life of an individual is exactly the stuff that the spiritual life is made of.

Perhaps we, like John, have an image of Jesus that is not exactly on the mark and perhaps that is why our spiritual lives may be stagnant or sluggish -- or even nonexistent.

Who is Jesus for you?

Jesus provides some answers to this question this week. Jesus heals. Jesus cleanses. Jesus brings back to life that which was dead. Jesus brings good news to those in desperation.

As we begin this new liturgical year and as we prepare for the coming of the Lord perhaps our New Year Resolutions may include a few requests of our Lord who heals, cleanses, raises, and encourages.

Rather than cowering in fear or shame to a Lord who judges, let us respond to Jesus who in our Gospel this weekend reminds us of who He truly is.

Let us put all that is hurting, stained, dead and impoverished in our lives in front of the Lord. Let nothing come in between us and the Lord. Shame and sin paralyzes. The love of Christ brings healing.

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