A REFLECTION FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY IN ADVENTEt Réliqua…: MORE THAN A PROPHET
Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed the only commandment God had given them and ate of the forbidden fruit, mankind had deserved to be doomed never again to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet God had promised our first parents that, although they and their descendants would thenceforth forever be punished in this world for their crime, there would nevertheless be an end to the worst consequence of their sin, the inability to merit heaven. For there would one day be a woman whose heel would crush the head of the serpent who had tempted Eve. She would be a new Eve, a new Mother of Mankind, and from her seed would come the Redemption that only a loving God would ever have deigned to give us.
Since his prediction in the Garden of Eden, he continued to reinforce the hope of mankind in the coming Messiah, sending prophet after prophet to foretell the details of his coming. Hear the words of the prophet Isaiah, for example, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel,” while the prophet Micah even specified that the Messiah would come from the town of Bethlehem. The Jewish scribes and pharisees were well versed in their Scriptures, and would have been very familiar with these prophecies. They would have continually looked for the signs that the prophecies were being fulfilled.
Finally, in the latter days of the Old Testament, there came one last prophet, one who would not only foretell of the Messiah’s arrival, but who would actually prepare it. “A prophet?” asks our blessed Lord, when describing John the Baptist, “yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet!” And it is Jesus himself who interprets the ancient scriptures, pointing to John and cautioning the Jewish people that “this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.”
But those scribes and pharisees, despite all their learning and knowledge of scripture, failed to grasp the significance of St. John the Baptist’s preaching and preparation for Christ. They steadfastly resisted the obvious truths of what he said, even when our Lord fulfilled every aspect of the prophecies: “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” This deliberate blindness is something we today must be aware of and do everything in our power not to emulate. For today, other prophecies appear to be fulfilled, and the signs we heard about in the Gospels of the past two Sundays seem ever closer…