Monday, December 12, 2016

Here is your God! He comes to save you! (3rd Sunday of Advent A)

Jesus, I trust in you!

Last Sunday, we met St. John the Baptist who preached in the desert of Judea. Today, we meet him in prison. He was imprisoned because he told King Herod that it was not right for him to take his brother’s wife. He who once preached under the desert sun now finds himself in the darkness of a dungeon. He who walked freely in that immense desert space now finds himself detained within the limited space of a prison cell. It was in that dark and small prison cell that he heard of the works of the Christ. It was from that dark prison cell that he sent word to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come or should we look for another?”

The question of St. John showed hope amidst sorrow and darkness. To this hope came the Lord’s response: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” Christ’s response brought to John great joy even as he was in prison because the signs that Jesus referred to were the signs of the nearness of God: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you! Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like the stag, then will the mouth of the mute will sing.”

For someone in prison, the nearness of God brings great joy. It was an assurance of vindication (pagsanggalang; pagtatanggol). He has not forgotten the prisoners who were remembered by nobody. The Lord remembered and has come to save us. His coming is a promise of liberation. He is here, freedom is so close to us. The prison may be dark, but we shall soon see the light. He shall set us free. The nearness of God brought joy to John who was in prison. Soon, he will be executed at the order of Herod. But the joy of God’s nearness would sustain him through his imprisonment and even through his execution. He would go down to the world of the dead with the joyful news: The Lord is here. He comes with vindication. To the souls of the just who await their liberation from hell, John would proclaim: Be not afraid! God is already here. With divine recompense he comes to save you!

To us who are captives of sin, St. John repeats these glad tidings: Here is your God! He comes to save you! Keep on waiting. “You must be patient. Make your hearts firm because the coming of the Lord is at hand…Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates!” We are not waiting in vain.  The devil may accuse us of our sins but he comes to defend us. He will liberate us from whatever is oppressing us. He will give us the Holy Spirit. He will give us faith that will enlighten our eyes. He will give us the freedom to walk as children of God. He will cleanse us of our sins. He will open our ears to the Word of God. He will raise us from the grave. Indeed, the Gospel shall be preached to us. We rejoice because God is near. He is with us. There is no need to look for another.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! 

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