Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:11-15
Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
At this point in the Gospel John the Baptist has already made his proclamation, but Jesus is giving his listeners another chance to accept Him as the Messiah. Maybe as a reminder or maybe just to clarify for them, He explains that “John is Elijah” – the one who would announce the coming of the Messiah. And the One that John was speaking about stood before them – Jesus clearly calls Himself the Messiah! This is a reminder to us too that all the law and the prophets up to St. John the Baptist served to point us to Jesus, and now He is here! So what are we going to do? Gone are the days to sit back and do nothing. This is our opportunity, by God’s grace, to be ready, willing, and able to do His will ourselves for His arrival, again in the manger and His Second Coming.
We are busy getting ready for a lot of things during the Christmas season, but we are not just to be getting ready for Jesus during Advent. We don’t want to let this time dedicated to prayer and growing in our faith just be something we do for one month a year. If you are waiting for someone to call you or someone to ask you to help, we have already heard the call to serve from our Lord. Let this Advent season set the tone for what your walk with God should look like throughout the year!
As swamped as we already are during the Christmas season, we should not just expect time to be available for us to deepen and strengthen our faith and our marriage. If we want to be ready, willing, and able then we must make daily commitments to grow in our faith. We must allow God’s grace to fill us as we respond to each new day, each new demand, and each new trial. What is His love inviting you to do to make time for your faith and your relationship during this Advent season?
O Lord our God, help us to accept the proclamation that you are the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Lord help us to receive you anew in our hearts and in our marriage. Give us ears to hear you and a heart that loves like you. Help us to respond to your great love for us and may we be ready on that day when you come again. Let us not hold onto that which takes us away from You but cling closer to You this Advent, this Christmas, and everyday after. Amen.
Advent reminds us of something very important about who we are and our final end. In it we are preparing ourselves, but this work is not something we should be doing only in Advent. We are called to always take time to come to our Lord, welcome Him anew, and make straight the path. In light of this, talk today about things that the two of you could do together, after Advent and throughout the year, to continue to grow in your faith and in your marriage.
Make a commitment each day, each week, and each year to do something that will strengthen your faith and your marriage. Along with a daily commitment to prayer time as a couple, make a plan to attend a married couples retreat in 2018.