Sunday, December 11, 2016

Is He the One or Should I Look for Another?

On the Third Sunday of Advent, we hear that John the Baptist, who was imprisoned by Herod, sent his disciples to Jesus to ask, "Are you the One or should we look for another?"  The early Church Fathers say that John did this not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of his disciples.  

John must have intuited that things would not end well for him. Perhaps he was concerned about what would happen to his disciples as they watched him maltreated, humiliated, and eventually executed. They could easily become fearful or discouraged. John sends them to Jesus.  When they pose their question to Jesus, "Are you he One or should we look for another?" Jesus reminds them of all that they have seen and heard. In front of their very eyes, miracles have occurred. They have seen and heard miraculous things!

But it was not enough for Jesus to remind them of what they had seen and heard.  Being mindful of the works of God made manifest in our lives is an important part of the Christian life.  But it is not enough to sustain it.  Equally important is proclaiming those things to others.  "Go and tell John," Jesus commands these disciples.  "Go tell John what you've seen and heard. Go tell John what you've witnessed. Go tell John."  It was really not for John's benefit that the disciples went and reported all that they had seen and heard.  It was for their benefit.  Sharing the Good News is as much a part of being a disciple as is encountering the Good News. Believing is an important part of Christian life, but so too is confessing that Faith before others.

In the heart of every Christian is always a pause, a hesitation: "Is He the One or should I look for another?" In my life, Christ always answers that question by surrounding me with signs of his grace and power. In the lives of the parishioners, families, college students, seminarians, brother priests, and religious who surround me on a daily basis, Jesus says, "Go and tell what you have seen and what you have heard." In the lives and witnesses of these men and women, I am reminded that I do not need to look for another. He is indeed the One. And, these reminders compel me to bear witness to what I've seen and heard. In fact, for the most part, this blog has mostly been dedicated to just that: Sharing with others the great and miraculous things Christ is doing in the lives of those with whom I've had the privilege of living the Christian life.

Even when my heart does not pose the question, "Are you the One or should I look for another?" Jesus answers. For twenty years (almost) he has surrounded me with signs of his miraculous power. He surrounds me with His people, the people in whom His grace is at work in extraordinary ways. But, like the disciples of John, it is not enough for me just to see these things. I need to go tell someone about them.  This blog is one way of doing that.

Today, I spent the whole day in the presence of young men and women in whom Christ is doing great things. So, in case you were wondering, let me assure you: He is the One. You need not look for another.

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