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The One Who is Coming

The One Who is Coming

December 12, 2022

Chapter Talk – Third Sunday of the Year – December 11, 2022 – cycle-A

The gospel reading for this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, asks us to behold who the Coming One is.  John the Baptist, who is now in prison, is hearing about the works Jesus is doing.  He seems a bit puzzled about who Jesus is and sends his disciples to Jesus with this question: “Are you the one to come or do we have to wait for another?” (Mt 11:2-11).  Indeed, the One who is coming will challenge our religious view of who God is.

Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar in his commentary writes: “John had expected a mighty One who would baptize with Spirit and fire.  And there appears in the Gospel this gentle One who ‘will not quench a smoldering wick’ (Is 42:3).  Jesus calms John’s disquiet by showing him that the prophecy is being fulfilled in himself, in gentle miracles that still call for trusting faith” (Light of the Word, p.17).  The coming One arrives with a wide-open heart towards the sinner, the marginalized, the poor, including the poor in spirit.  His miracles are transformative, gentle, surrounded by mercy, compassion, a love that heals and brings forth freedom of spirit.

In another image von Balthasar refers John as coming from the “Old Covenant” while being a voice and presence that opens the door to the New Covenant…the new covenant firmly rooted on the old but bringing forth a new horizon of who God is…This is not a condemning God: “I have come not to condemn but to save”.  It is One who leads with mercy and compassion, who is ready to embrace and forgive the sinner, who loves us first and is ready to die for this unrequited and unconditional love.  Imagine that we are preparing the landscape of our souls to receive this Presence once again, this Divine gift, which surely will bring needed change to each of our lives.

Pope Francis echoes this same theme of who the Coming One is.  He says: “But this new birth, with the joy that accompanies it, always presupposes a death to ourselves and to the sin within us.   Hence the call to conversion, which is the basis of the preaching of both the Baptist and Jesus; in particular, it is a question of converting our idea of God. And the time of Advent stimulates us to do this precisely with the question that John the Baptist poses to Jesus: ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Mt 11: 3)….Yet he too had to convert to Jesus. Like John, we too are called to recognize the face that God chose to assume in Jesus Christ, humble and merciful” (Angelus, December 15, 2019).  Perhaps this is the change we all need: converting our idea of God.  Not one time, but over and over, we need change, the openness to shift and convert to Jesus, to the face of healing love, the face of hope, the face of new life possible out of suffering.

Converting to Jesus, the coming One.  With ‘trusting faith’, we wait to behold the silent, healing Presence that is sure to come.  God will not disappoint.  He will bring salvation, a salvation that “envelops the whole person and regenerates him or her” (Pope Francis).  This is what we hope for…this is what we all need.  In silent prayer we can sense the Divine stirrings within our longing for salvation, for receiving the incarnate gift of God in Christ. 

 Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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