Gospel (Matthew 11:11-15)
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Does anyone really listen anymore? We may have the ears, but it often seems our mouths and minds have the power – especially with the megaphone of social media.
“Here is my opinion.” “This is the way to think”. “Your thoughts and actions and politics and views and prejudices and associations are unacceptable, unchristian, immoral, and just plain wrong.”
True, sometimes evil and error must be called out. John the Baptist certainly was not shy to point out the evil ways of different groups that came to hear him. But he also helped them change and repent and then prepare for the coming of the Christ in their lives. He didn’t just condemn and abandon…he challenged and then pointed the way.
This Advent perhaps we can listen to each other a little more, be challenged once in awhile about how we add to the world’s division, hatred, and chaos, and look for ways to bring the compassionate, respectful, healing love of Christ into our world.
On this memorial of the mystic and spiritual guide Saint John of the Cross, we might reflect on one of his famous sayings: “Where you do not find love, put love and you will find love.”
-Father Vincent McTighe
This day try to really “listen” to others. Don’t react as much as respond. Especially when confronted with opinions and views that are difficult to understand, pray for discernment about what is really being said…and how the Word of God might be heard in the confusing din of confrontation.