December 15, 2022 –
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

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Isaiah 54:1-10  +  Luke 7:24-30

“‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’”

Jesus in today’s Gospel Reading quotes two Old Testament verses:  Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.  Together, these two verses illustrate Jesus’ image of John the Baptist.  They help us understand how John the Baptist stands in relation to Jesus.  John goes first, but only to prepare the way that leads to Jesus.

As the first half of Advent concludes tomorrow, Jesus’ quotation in today’s Gospel Reading brings up an important principle of our Catholic Faith.  We need to keep this principle in mind as enter tomorrow into the second, more intense half of Advent.  That principle is intercession.

Many of our separated brethren dismiss the principle of others interceding between “me and Jesus”.  Protestant leaders had statues and paintings of saints destroyed because they suggested that certain persons might be important in the process of bringing us to Jesus.  The dismissal of the role of saints went hand-in-hand with the dismissal of the ordained priesthood, another important means by which human persons intercede for us in bringing us closer to Jesus.

So as the first half of Advent ends today—and with it, its focus upon St. John the Baptist—we ought to reflect on two points.  First, what do I need to learn from St. John the Baptist, and how can he lead me to Jesus?  Second, how can I imitate St. John the Baptist and lead others to Jesus by my own words and sacrifices?