Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Advent, December 11, 2022

     My reflections today will be focused on the topic of our trust in the Lord. In today’s gospel, Saint Mathew tells us that Saint John the Baptist is in prison, where he hears about what our Lord is doing in his ministry. He sends two of his disciples to ask the Lord this question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

     This question from Saint John’s mouth may lead us to question whether he is doubting the identity of that prophet from Nazareth whom he has announced as the Messiah. We recall that Saint John had spoken of the Lord as someone who would be like an ax positioned at the root of the tree, ready to cut down and throw into the fire every tree that would not bear fruit. Contrary to Saint John’s expectations, the Lord’s initial ministry is one of caring for the sick and welcoming sinners and outcasts.

     Perhaps Saint John is not surprised at all by the Lord’s style and simply wants his disciples to go out and find about our Lord’s identity for themselves. The Lord’s response is simple. The Lord says, in other words, that he is doing exactly what the prophets had announced for the time of the Messiah. The Messiah would heal the sick and preach the good news to the poor. And as if the Lord were validating anyone’s guess about Saint John’s possible confusion, he concludes with these words: “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me”.

     We are familiar with the beatitudes, the set of blessings listed by our Lord in the sermon on the Mount. Here the Lord adds one more. In other words, the Lord says, blessed are those who never become upset by something that the Lord has said or done. To be blessed is the same as to be happy. Happy are those who never get upset by anything God almighty does or allows to happen to them or someone else.

     The Lord invites us to always trust his words. Some people often have difficulties with some of the words of the Lord, with some of his parables. Because of this we are tempted to pick what we like and/or to dismiss what we dislike of his words. When we do not understand something that the Lord says, we need to ask those who have studied the meaning. We need to, at least, pray about those words and ask the Holy Spirit for understanding. 

     People have more difficulties with God especially when God allows to occur some things that are physically or emotionally painful and are apparently unfair either to them or to someone else. This is an area that is very difficult to talk about, let alone to offer some spiritual guidance and advice. I hear people doubting God and His love toward them in trial times. I listen to them and sympathize with them.

     All I want to say today on this topic is that the Lord’s words give us insight. Blessed are those who never become upset by something that the Lord has said or done. There is something there for those who trust in the Lord, especially at the moment when we may find the reasons to distrust him.

     This unconditional trust in God is the proof of the true faith: the pattern started with Abraham and his unreserved willingness to sacrifice his little son and found its culmination with our Lord himself on the cross experiencing the abandonment of his beloved Father.

     Anyone today going through a difficult time trusting the Lord is invited to meditate more on today’s beatitude and ask the Holy Spirit for the gifts of wisdom and understanding. All of us may also meditate on this beatitude and be proactive in preparing ourselves when the trial comes our way.

     Finally, let us humbly ask our Lord to give us his grace to always trust him and his ways.