Daily Advent Reflections Day 15 – Be Offensive

Readings for the Third Sunday in Advent: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10; Psalms 146; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11

"And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."  Matthew 11:6

Why would anyone take offense at a man who restores sight to the blind, cures lepers, makes the deaf hear, raises people from the dead, and preaches good news to the poor?  Yet, in today's Gospel reading, Jesus makes this curious statement after reminding the disciples of John the Baptist everything he had been doing as evidence that he was the One "to come"--the Messiah and divine Son of God.  It was Jesus's claim of divinity, of equality and oneness with God himself, that the Jewish authorities took offense at, and which ultimately led to His crucifixion.  The Pharisees would have had no problem with Jesus but not for His claim of divinity.

Two thousand years later, nothing has changed.  To the extent modern man even believes in miracles, he takes no offense unless you attribute them to Jesus as God.  Because in our relativistic age, Jesus has been reduced to nothing more than a wise teacher.  Call Him God, and you are placing Christianity above all other world "religions," and that simply is too offensive.  But as St. Paul reminds us, our duty as Christians is to "preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."  (1 Corinthians 1:23)  So, as St. James implores us in today's second reading, "do not grumble" when others take offense at you for proclaiming Christ this Advent.  Your witness may lead to them experiencing the "joy and gladness" (Isaiah 35:10) that only Jesus can provide.

God love you.

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