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Thy Kingdom Come!
Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time he cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And he said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
Opening Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind. Open your word to me and plant it deep in my heart. Lord Jesus, come and reign in my heart!
- John, the Forerunner: St. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Even before he was born, he leapt for joy in his mother’s womb when Jesus came to him in Mary’s womb, like David leaping before the ark of the covenant (Luke 1:41, 2 Samuel 6:16). John testified to Jesus as the Son of God: “He cried out, saying, ‘This was he of whom I said, “The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me”’” (John 1:15). John also knew his own role. His father, Zechariah, had told him since birth: “And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways” (Luke 1:76). John found joy in his role as Christ’s “best man.” He testified, “I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:28-30). John knew that his role was to help people prepare their hearts for the coming of Christ the King: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). When we discover our role, our mission, our purpose in Christ, we rejoice like John who leapt for joy.
- Jesus, the Anointed One: John may have sent his disciples to Jesus for their sake so that Jesus could confirm to them that he is indeed the Messiah, the one who is to come. Jesus referred to a prophecy from Isaiah to help John’s disciples understand the purpose of his healing miracles. He summed up his role as the anointed bearer of glad tidings: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God; to comfort all who mourn; to place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes; to give them oil of gladness instead of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a faint spirit” (Isaiah 61:1-3). In this way, Jesus proclaims the coming of the kingdom. He is the Messiah, the everlasting King (Jeremiah 10:10). For wherever Christ the King is, his kingdom has come.
- What Kind of Kingdom? By showing that he is God the Father’s anointed bearer of glad tidings, Jesus pointed out that he would be a different Messiah from what some people expected. There were some who thought that the Messiah would be a political king, sent to take back Jerusalem from the Romans and secure earthly power for the Jewish people. But Jesus came for so much more than that. Jesus’s kingdom is divine, because it is established and ruled by God (Psalms 103:19). It is everlasting, a never-ending covenant (Ezekiel 37:26). It is universal; it knows no political or physical boundaries, joining heaven and earth through Christ himself (Colossians 1:16-17). Finally, his kingdom is spiritual, for it comes first in human hearts (1 Peter 3:15, Romans 14:17).
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, your birth approaches us so very soon. John the Baptist announced your coming in history, and your kingdom along with it. Help me remember that Christmas can come each and every day in my heart if I allow you to be born there. May I make it a humble manger for Mary to lay you in. May it be warm and open and ready for your arrival. May your kingdom reign in my heart, now and always.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will offer an act of humility to help prepare my heart for your coming.
For Further Reflection: A wonderful book to read during these last days of Advent and throughout the Christmas season is Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does) by Dr. Scott Hahn.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.