CHOOSING JOY

This homily is based on Matthew 11:2-11.

I don’t know if you noticed it, but that’s a pretty strange exchange of messages between our Lord and John the Baptist.

First of all, John the Baptist requests his disciples to ask our Lord a bizarre question.  Thrown into prison for denouncing the sins of Herod Antipas, John the Baptist hears about the miracles of our Lord and sends his disciples to ask:  “Are you the One who is to come, or should we look for another?”  Now why would he ask a question like that?

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THE TEMPTATION OF THE BAPTIST

imageThis reflection is based on John 1:6-8, 19-28.

This event in the life of John the Baptist sounds like it’s more than a simple press conference. Here we have him interviewed successively by priests and Levites, as well as Pharisees. All of them interrogate him about who he is: “Are you the Christ? Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet?”

The Baptist takes this opportunity to clarify who he is and who he is not, correcting the misconceptions about him. He is not the Christ–nor is he Elijah, nor the Prophet. He is but “the voice crying out in the desert,” to prepare the way for the Christ. Continue reading THE TEMPTATION OF THE BAPTIST

WHAT THE MESSENGER DIDN’T KNOW

487px-Virgin_with_Child_and_Saint_John_the_Baptist-Biagio_dAntonio-MBA_Lyon_B438-IMG_0303This homily is based on Mark 1:1-8.

First to appear on the Advent stage is the familiar but disturbing figure of John the Baptist, the so-called “forerunner and messenger of the Lord.”

We’ve met this guy before: We’ve read about the announcement of his birth before his cousin’s. Yes, that other Annunciation where things didn’t exactly go well: His father Zechariah understandably thought himself and his wife way beyond the age limit for biological parenthood, the angel uncharacteristically lost his cool, and poor Zechariah consequently went speechless for virtually nine months. His prophet son, of course, eventually more than made up for that long silence.

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KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12): 05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12):  05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)

Today’s Readings

There’s something strange about our Gospel reading today. Did you notice what was wrong with the picture?

We’re supposed to be in the season of Advent, preparing for Christmas. And when we say Christmas, we think of such familiar characters like the angels proclaiming good news, shepherds leaving their flock to check out the baby Jesus, and wise men following stars and bearing gifts. These are feel-good characters and what is Christmas if not the season for feeling good? Continue reading KILLJOY (Matthew 3:1-12): 05 December 2010 (2nd Sunday of Advent)