If I were less artistically and technologically challenged, I would create a computer program that brings Isaiah 35:1-6 to life.
The desert will stream with water and be glad, the dry lands will bloom, the wasteland will burst into flower, and we will see the splendor of God. The eyes of the blind will see, deaf ears will be opened, those who cannot walk will leap like deer, and the tongues of those who cannot speak will sing. Can you see it?!
This spectacular scene from Isaiah gets revisited in this week’s Gospel when John the Baptist, who was incarcerated at the time, sent Jesus a message from his jail cell. “Are you the One who is to come or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus, who was never one for a straight answer and saw all of life’s circumstances as teaching moments, turned the question back to John. Jesus instructed the messengers to report what they see and hear, an image of what Isaiah describes. Good news for the poor and oppressed!
The readings invite me to reflect on life questions:
- Are you the one who will offer comfort and compassion to those who are ill?
- Are you the one who will listen to a friend or co-worker even though you have a million things to do?
- Are you the one who will donate time and resources when disaster strikes at home or in other parts of the globe?
- Are you the one who will sign petitions, write letters, or call members of Congress about legislation that impacts the poor and vulnerable?
- Are you the one who will write a blog for the Third Sunday of Advent?
- Are you the one who will advocate for immigration reform, an end to human trafficking, or equal rights for women, persons with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, or people of all cultures?
- Are you the one who will welcome the stranger, the immigrant, or the refugee?
- Are you the one who will pray and/or march for peace?
- Are you the one who will give a smile or kindness to service workers during this hectic season?
- Are you the one who will reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve Earth’s resources in order to care for our planet and preserve it for future generations?
Are you the one, or should we expect someone else?