When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
I hate to wait. If there’s a long line at the buffet table, I prefer to remain seated and chat with folks rather than wait more than two minutes in line. Driving–even if I have plenty of time and am not in a hurry–if the traffic is moving slowly, I anxiously seek out the best route or fastest lane to arrive at my destination sooner. And the longest hours of my childhood occurred on the afternoon of Christmas Eve when I would sit before the Christmas tree and look at the presents and wait for the hour to arrive when we could open them.
So I hear with great intensity the words of John the Baptist’s disciples when they ask Jesus, “are you the one that is to come or should we look for another? “Boy, I hope it’s you because we are tired of waiting so long for the Savior to arrive! And yet we hear St. James tell us to be patient… see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth.
God is telling us that what we seek and long for isn’t the destination, but on the way to it. The book of Acts calls our religion “the way.” John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord.” The disciples encountered the risen Lord on the way to Emmaus. Destinations are an illusion. “When I grow up…” “When I get that promotion…” “When I buy my dream house…” They are no more than signposts along the way. We are pilgrims, travelers on the way, and all we have is the present. Let’s enjoy it with all of its imperfection, because soon the future will arrive and we will long for the past. Let us tranquilly wait, without anxiety about what is to come or when we will arrive.
—Fr. Tim Howe, SJ, is president of St. Xavier High School, in Cincinnati, OH.
You believe that the Son of God came among us; may his coming bring you the light of his holiness and free you with his blessing.
You rejoice that the Son of God came to live as one of us. When he comes again in glory, may he reward you with endless life .
May God make you steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and untiring in love all the days of your life.