The common theme running through today’s readings is one of joy and encouragement. The readings stress the need for patience in those awaiting the rebirth of Jesus in their hearts and lives. They give us messages of hope—for people almost three millennia ago, for people at the beginning of the first millennium and for people today.
John the Baptist sent his friends to go find Jesus, and to ask him if he was really the Messiah. Rather than just answering with a simple yes or no, Jesus told them to tell John: “The deaf can hear, the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”
Jesus is not speaking in code. He is telling us he has come to reach out to the poor and suffering. As his disciples, we are called to do the same. Who are these people in our world today? They are family members who are sick or lonely. They are our classmates who are bullied. They are the men and women on our streets who don’t have a place to sleep at night. And they are the families around the world who, because of poverty or violence in their countries, struggle to make it through each day.