Fr. Aidan Writes:
In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus heaps praise upon John the Baptist who at that time had been imprisoned; his prophetic teaching drew huge crowds and disturbed the establishment, Herod in particular, and he was seen as a possible cause of unrest. In a way, John the Baptist was like a modern day warm-up act for Jesus, and Jesus, in the gospel, is asking what it is the people hoped to see when they gathered for John. The same question at this stage of advent can be asked of us. What are we looking for? What are we hoping to see? If we are honest we probably are looking for something to fit our world view, to fit our lifestyle, to comfort us. If that is the case, then we ought to be rather disturbed by what we find. The encounter with Christ at Christmas should be not the rustic, sometimes saccharin, crèche scene but a profoundly disturbing challenge to us all; how could a little baby be the answer to our prayers? Joseph in today’s Gospel was profoundly disturbed by the news of this child to be born of Mary. He is told that this baby will save the people from their sins! The man this baby grows into is the cause of John being in prison and what the prophets referred to as the fall and rising of Man. As Isaiah said last week, “Here is your God, he comes with vindication, with divine recompense, he comes to save you”… from what…dare I say, our complacency? At Christmas we encounter the Emmanuel, the God who starts to walk with us. Are we satisfied with labeling ourselves as Christian, or are we prepared to be real disciples, giving up so much so that we can go where he sends us?
God bless us all as we prepare for Christmas.
Fr Aidan Peter CJ
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter