Roc Homily – 3rd Sunday Advent Cycle A 2016 (An Introduction)
Jesus didn’t live up to the expectations of John the Baptist. He didn’t call the religious leaders a “brood of vipers” and didn’t threaten their destruction, “even now the axe is laid to the root of the tree!” Talk about hell, fire, and brimstone!
Who is this guy? Had he prepared the way for the wrong guy? “Are you the one to come or are we to wait for another?”
Matthew 11:4-5 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them…
Seems to me this saying of Jesus refers to the literal, historical part of his healing ministry. And, another level comes to the fore when we look at the interconnections between words Matthew chose. First example is tuphlos, meaning blind. In the first gospel, Jesus refers only to the scribes and Pharisees as blind. What might it mean that they see???
Matthew 15:13f (NRSV) — 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”
Matthew 23:16–19 (NRSV) — 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ 19 How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
Matthew 23:24–26 (NRSV) — 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
The scribes & Pharisees, once healed, will see the inside of their cups. The’ll see their greed and self-indulgence once they recognize their aversion to seeing! They will realize also that their evaluation of what is important in religion has nothing to do with what healing will allow them to see.
Which helps us see Jesus’ ministry involved with healing more than browbeating others. What don’t we see? What risk do we run by seeking healing? Hmmm, what an Advent!