Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Advent

Matthew 11:2-11

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Nancy Rowen

Published: December 15, 2019

Work in Progress

In today’s Gospel, “When John in prison heard the works of the Christ…”  Matthew recognizes Jesus as the long-awaited  Anointed One, come to set God’s people free. Chapters 8 and 9 are filled with detailed testimonies of Jesus of Nazareth who “went everywhere, teaching, proclaiming and curing” with a word or a touch…. all descriptive of The Messiah who acts with great power and the Spirit of God upon him. 

Jesus simply reports to John all the transformations in the blind, deaf, outcasts, the poor, even the dead.  When he points to John the Baptist he asks, “What did you expect”?

Last Sunday, I had a brief glimpse of that hoped-for- Kingdom of peace, justice, love and joy, the promise of life to the full, for all people. Mine is a large city of many cultures and national origins with generations of us spread across the wide spectrum of life experiences. This year, our parish music director initiated a “bell choir” for Christmastime. Anyone who wanted to join automatically qualified.  Fifteen showed up for rehearsal, a motley group of women and men, each with a name tag, each given only one note to play. All belonged and had a place. As we practiced striking first single notes, then rhythms and chords in sync, we heard the most beautiful sounds like great cathedral organ peals and chimes at the climax of a glorious anthem. Instinctively, we burst into applause, surprised and pleased at the beauty we had created together.  The director and we laughed out loud from joy!!! - sure evidence of God at work… among us!

 Each of us, small and great, belongs to God’s Family. None too old, and none too young; no one is beyond God’s healing reach.  Can we see Jesus, The Christ, come among us and God’s Kingdom with him in the still dark places of our lives and times? Can we recognize others around us as channels of that same great Love at work in surprising ways? Can we see what God has done, is doing, wants to accomplish in and through each of us? Let this be our advent prayer:

 “Lord of life and light, help us not to fall in love with the darkness that separates us from You and from each other; but to watch large-eyed, wide-hearted, open-handed, eager-minded for You; to dream and hunger and squint and pray for the light of You and life for each other.”  Remembering that “we are God’s Work of Art, we pray to trust “the long, slow Work of God”


                                                        With gratitude for:

. Ted Loder’s “Gentle Me Open”  in My Heart in My Mouth;

. Paul in Ephesians 2:10; for Jeremiah’s image of the Potter’s vessel in Ch. 18:4-5;

. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for his prayer poem, “Trust The Slow Work of God.”




« View all Gospel Reflections