First Reading: Isaiah 35: 1-6a, 10
Psalm Response: Psalm 146: 6-10
Second Reading: James 5: 7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11: 2-11
We receive an abundance of encouragement from Isaiah and James today. They each promise us that if we are patient and enduring in faith, like the prophets, we will see the Beatitudes realized. James is looking towards a future that is filled with hope by considering how we should live in the present. He is telling us that hope is to be an active, earthly hope, “…do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged.” He believes that we will have the opportunity to see hope in each other as well as in God.
John, now questioning his own faith as he struggles with being a prisoner instead of a prophet, asks his disciples to confirm the identity of Jesus. John had expectations of the “one who is to come” and perhaps he expected that Christ would come under different circumstances? John expected a new kingdom, but not necessarily a kingdom founded on the blessedness of so many downtrodden and humble people.
We have many expectations in our life, some are simple and some are profound. Our expectations can create our future, so we should be careful about what we presume will happen. How much do we expect from God? Can we expect God to eliminate our suffering, or must we learn that God is ever present in our suffering? Do we expect God to reward us with success or do we become last so that others may come first?
During this Season of Advent, may the God, who fulfills promises beyond all expectations, give us a heart of love to serve where we see a need and the courage to serve where we are afraid to see. Keep us focused on the coming of our beloved God to become human showing us how to be the blessed ones who proclaim the Good News.
Carolyn Meyer, Associate