Reflection for the Third Sunday in Advent – December 15, 2019
Gospel Reading – Matthew 11: 2 – 11
In today’s Gospel, Matthew tells us that Jesus asked the crowd, “What did you go out to the desert to see? . . . Someone dressed in fine clothing?” The sight of John dressed in his animal skins and eating locusts and wild honey, even in those days, was rather alarming. “He will prepare the way for you,” was not the message they were expecting. They had been in the desert for years, and even in that long experience, they were always on the move. There was no time to settle down. However, perhaps the journey that Jesus was referring to was more of an inner one, one where they could deepen their relationship with God and listen to how God calls us to love others.
Now, hundreds of years later, at a time when there is so much excitement over preparing for celebrations of Christmas, the Church invites us to learn from John in the desert. “Desert time” can be a place where our soul finds room to expand, where we can remember what we really thirst for. That is the experience of God’s fertile desert. It is a desert where we can choose to be, and it will bless us.
To prepare the way of the Lord today, we are called to build bridges across difficulties with family or friends, to forget old wounds, to reach out with a smile or a helping hand or a warm welcome. Then by giving what we can to whomever we can, we will be ready for Christmas with hope in our hearts and a deeper understanding of the peace this Christ-child brings. The peace of Jesus is waiting for each of us.
Sr. Judith O’Connor, OSU