Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; Ps 146:6-11; James 5:7-10; Mt 11:2-11
O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Sunday Mass. Come and behold him, born to save all mankind. O come, let us adore him, Christ our Lord. Mass brings us many joys and is our best meal on earth. Why? Jesus is born for us and brings us more of his gifts. Alleluia!
As I celebrate Mass, so often my wonder and joy continue to increase. Let Jesus open your eyes to see and ears to hear the good news of what our faith is all about. Jesus fills us up, teaches and empowers us and sends us out to proclaim his kingdom. That is the continual good news we have been sent out to proclaim. Amen. That is the “New Evangelization.“ It needs to be new for each generation of our young. Alleluia! There is much more to learn yet Mass is the core of our faith.
Gifts of healing
John the Baptist, like some Jews then, were waiting for the coming of the Messiah, to change the direction of Israel and get rid of the Roman occupation. He preached repentance and baptized Jews in the Jordan River. Jesus also came preaching repentance and baptism with water. BUT, Jesus was able to baptize (fill) people with part of God’s power, the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to see in Holy Scripture the continuing gifts of the Holy Spirit he gives.
Today the Isaiah reading speaks of some of the gifts the Messiah will bring to people. The Messiah will open eyes so people see what God wants them to see. Ears will hear God’s good news. The lame will leap like a stag and their tongues will praise and worship God’s love and blessings. Psalm 14 also speaks of God giving sight to the blind and raising up those who are bowed down.
We can understand these gifts in a physical sense or a spiritual one. We go to doctors and hospitals when we are physically sick. That is good. God can also gift some other, non-medically trained, to pray for healing people. There are many other areas of our lives that can be spiritually healed as in physical and emotional abuses of the past or in or ancestry or genetic code. God who is all -powerful and can do all things.
Go and tell what you hear and see
In Matthew’s gospel story, John the Baptist, then in prison, sent some disciples to Jesus asking if he was the Messiah or should they look for someone else. Jesus tells them: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” We see these stories throughout the New Testament. If you stay around in the church you will see ordinary people doing some of these things as the Holy Spirit continues to raise up ordinary people to change lives in his Name.
Let us continue to be God’s chosen ones, yielding to his loving grace to help change the world. And we continue to use our voices in praise and worship for all the wonder-filled things that God does through us. This is the good news in good works and not just in word only. Praise You Jesus. We love you.
This coming Saturday we begin the 7-day Christmas Novena, December 17 to 24, the with the “O Antiphons,” These weekdays before Christmas are especially enriched in the Alleluia refrain before the Gospel and as the antiphon for the Marian Hymn at Evening Prayer. They are unique works of art and a special ornament of the pre-Christmas Liturgy. Each O-Antiphon combines a praise invocation of the work of the Messiah with a petition for Christ’s second coming at the end of the world.
Have a blessed week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)