The Wednesday Word
Relax and Remember
Set aside 10 -15 minutes and create a suitable environment by removing any distractions. Make sure that you are comfortable. Perhaps light a candle. Make the sign of the cross † and remain still for a minute of settling silence.
Call to mind the love that God has for you.
Remember that through this scripture our Lord is truly present. Then read the Gospel, preferably aloud and slowly, and pay attention to any words that stand out. If any do, meditate on them for a few minutes and be invited into a dialogue with God.
Taken from the Gospel for Sunday 11th December 2022 - Miracles of the Messiah (Matthew 11:2-11)
John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’ As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you. I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’
After spending a few minutes considering this Gospel, continue by reading Fr Henry Wansbrough’s reflection.
John the Baptist was expecting a Messiah of judgment, who would cut down the rotten tree and burn the useless chaff. When, in prison, he hears that Jesus is not doing this, he is puzzled and sends messengers to ask if Jesus is really the Messiah. Jesus sends back the message that he is fulfilling the prophet Isaiah – the passage which we hear about in today’s first reading. Jesus’ understanding was that healing, not punishment, was the task of the Messiah. He goes and seeks out those who need healing, both physically and spiritually. He does not wait for sinners to repent before gathering them into the kingdom; he makes the first advance. Then he turns to praising the Baptist. It is a fascinating point of speculation as to whether Jesus was himself once a disciple of John the Baptist. After all, John says he did not recognise Jesus until he saw the Spirit coming down on him. But he also says that Jesus, who came after him, has passed before him. This is a typical position of a rabbi, leading his disciples, and suggests that John had been Jesus’ rabbi, then became his disciple. Jesus was fully man, and even he needed to learn as all human beings do. John the Baptist did all he could to lead others to God. How, through our actions and attitudes, can we point others to God? How do our lives show that we are preparing for Christ’s second coming?
Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB
Respond and Request
Now slowly and prayerfully read the Gospel once again but this time in silence. Consider how this Gospel could apply to your life in general. Then thank God for any insight you may have received. Conclude by asking God to bless you with one of the following spiritual gifts to help you act on any resolution you have made: love, understanding, wisdom, faithfulness, peace, self control, patience, or joy. Please remember to pray for the Church and particularly our school families. Then conclude by requesting the prayers of Our Lady & St Joseph.
The Wednesday Word is under the patronage of St Joseph,
Patron Saint of Families and Protector of the Church