Comfort To My People

Second Sunday of Advent (B)

“Comfort, give comfort to my people”, says your God. – Isaiah 40:1

You are seven years old, riding your bike on a ¬†warm summer’s day. Your front tire hits a patch of sand and loses traction. You fall, skinning your right elbow and knee. The new wounds sting, but the sensation of falling is more frightening to you than the wounds. You seek your mother. If she’s available, you go to her immediately. If not, you tell her as soon as possible. She may give you some unsolicited advice about being careful on your bike – advice that is painfully obvious to you now. Chances are that she will also clean your scrapes, put ointment and bandages on them, give you a hug or a kiss, and reassure you that all is well. You may head out again, your scrapes still stinging. But you are no longer overwhelmed. Your mother consoled you and told you that it will be okay – and you believe her. You may even show off your new scars to your friends, as though you were a Purple Heart soldier with battle scars. Your mother’s comfort has made all the difference. Continue reading “Comfort To My People”

Naming and Filing

January 2, 2017: John 1:19-28

Today’s Gospel reading begins with John (the Evangelist) telling us that he is about to give us the testimony of John (the Baptist) as to who Jesus is. John the Baptist, as the story begins, is in the midst of his ministry by the Jordan River. Even though this remote region was not easy to get to, people come to John every day to hear him and be baptized. Something about John rings true to them. Continue reading “Naming and Filing”

Are You The One?

Third Sunday of Advent (A)

There is something about being confined against our will, even if only for a time, that invites us to stop and reassess our lives. The young Francis of Assisi, captured and imprisoned after a battle; the young Ignatius of Loyola, recuperating after being injured in battle: both of these men were led to ponder their lives and ask themselves if they were moving in the right direction or not. Something similar happens to many of us: an illness, a time in jail, or simply the gradual aging of our bodies, can be occasions to stop and take stock of our lives and how well we have honored our deepest commitments.

In today’s Gospel reading, we meet John the Baptist. When we last saw him (last Sunday), he was boldly proclaiming the need for repentance by the Jordan River, and announcing that this Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah. But now John, in prison, has a question for Jesus. “Are you the one who is to come, or must we wait for another?”¬† Continue reading “Are You The One?”