I already had my St. John’s University sweatshirt, hat, and red socks on when my wife Liz said to me, “You know…I think I might be pregnant. I’m going to take a test.” Sure enough the test said Yes! and we had to keep our mouths shut at the Johnny-Tommy football game we were attending with many of our friends from college. We were so excited, nervous, in shock, and overjoyed with the news.
As good as that moment was, it was nothing compared to the next year when we held our little Ella in our arms for the first time. As good as the news of a coming child was to us; actually holding that child was so much better.
Whether you have kids or not you know the feeling of finding out something is going to happen vs the thing actually happening. You know what it like to anticipate a gift and then to actually receive it.
For the second week in a row the gospel is about John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. While last week John talked about “one mightier than I” who is coming, this week Jesus asks the crowds, “What did you go out to the desert to see?” He gives a number of ridiculous answers and then says, “Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.”
Jesus suggests that as amazing a prophet as John the Baptist is, John is just that – a prophet. John’s job is tell people the good news that the savior of the world is coming. John’s job is to prepare the way for the Chosen One. John’s job is to point to the Messiah.
Jesus is that Savior, Chosen One, and Messiah.
Jesus is more than a prophet.
Jesus isn’t the promise of a better life; he is new life. Jesus doesn’t just tell us the good news; he is the good news. Jesus isn’t an idea or symbol or policy; Jesus is a person whom we can know intimately.
John tells the world that a Savior is coming, and, at Christmas, Mary holds that Savior in her arms. In our preparation for Christmas, let’s not settle for just the idea that we can draw close to the God who loves us unconditionally. No, let’s actually do it. Come near to Christ. Let go of whatever keeps us away and know that God is with us.
Make a firm commitment to give God time to meet you where you are in these last two weeks of Advent. Go sit in the Adoration Chapel or the empty main church at HNOJ for 1 hour. Go to a weekday Mass wherever you can. Set up a Confession by calling the main office or asking our priests. Whatever the case, give God a chance to be more than idea for you this Advent.