Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent – Year A

 

christ-healing-the-blind-man-1560Until this point in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus had preached powerfully, especially in the Sermon on the Mount.  He had healed many, and more were seeking him.  He demanded much from his followers, but they saw the awesome power of God at work in Jesus Christ.  He spoke truth and walked in that truth.

St. John the Baptist had also preached and walked in the truth, which landed him in prison.  He spoke against un-Biblical forms of marriage and landed in prison, and was eventually killed for this teaching (Matthew 14:1-12).  There are different thoughts as to why John would send his disciples to ask about the possibility of Jesus Christ being the “one who is to come.”  On one hand it could just be that John needed the reassurance of Christ’s Divinity, because a dying man cannot afford to take chances.  Another likely solution is that he sent his disciples to Jesus for their own sake.  St. John knew his days were numbered and wanted them to become disciples of the Savior.  William Barclay puts it well, “If you have any doubts, go and see what Jesus is doing and your doubts will be at an end (Gospel of Matthew, Vol 2., p. 2).”

Jesus announces the good news of his kingdom, “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them (Matthew 11:5).”  Never in the Old Testament is a blind person’s sight restored.  Jesus refers to the prophecies of the Messiah in the book of Isaiah (35:4-5; 61:1; 26:19; 29:18; 42:18) where the blind are made to see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, lepers are cured, and the poor have the good news preached to them.  Jesus leaves no room for doubt, because he not only says these words, but they are actually true of his sacred ministry.

These signs of the mighty works and words of God, performed by Jesus Christ, should give us pause.  Where in the Church can we notice signs such as these? The Church is Christ’s own bride (Ephesians 5) and therefore should be reflective of her spouse.  The Prophet Isaiah also prophesied on the miracles and wonders that the coming Messiah would do and His Presence alone would cause: “the Desert and the parched land will exalt and the steppe will rejoice and bloom…Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: be strong, fear not!” Do you believe in the miraculous healing and transformative power of the Almighty?

It is especially true that the Sacraments of the Church are one answer to that question.  In Holy Eucharist, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, and all the sacraments, people are able to experience the special graces of God’s love present in tangible ways.  Jesus Christ communicates His grace to us through the Sacraments and the Word of God is proclaimed in each of them and His transforming grace is bestowed in each of them.

Another area we see miraculous work and teaching is in a teaching of St. John Paul II, the Theology of the Body.  St. John Paul II gave us this special teaching on human love in God’s plan.  Many people who have experienced this teaching have received incredible healing from afflictions worse than blindness or leprosy.  St. John Paul’s thesis for the Theology of the Body is this: “The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it.”[1]  We experience the world in and through our bodies, so it only makes sense that salvation will occur with the body (See also EV 33). Our body and the reality of human love will communicate the spiritual and the divine! Christopher West explains it this way, “Through the mystery of the incarnate person and the biblical analogy of spousal love, St. John Paul II’s catechesis illumines the entirety of God’s plan for human life from origin to eschaton with a splendid supernatural light.”[2] God indeed wants to marry us; we are part of His Family through Baptism. Allow yourself to be ever more immersed in God’s love and mercy this Advent Season!

[1] John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, trans. Michael Waldstein (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2006), 203.

[2] Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained, Revised Edition (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2007), 14.

To Download a PDF Version of this Homily, Click Here: 3rd Sunday of Advent – Year A

frdangoodFr. Dan Good is a priest for the Archdiocese of Mobile. He serves as the Parochial Vicar at Christ the King Catholic Church in Mobile, Alabama. He has finished a degree in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America. Fr. Dan has been a member of the Clergy Focus Group for TOBI’s Clergy Enrichment Program and has attended the Head & Heart Immersion Course in January 2007, TOB 2 in January 2011 and Love & Responsibility in January 2012.

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