The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’” Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (And all the people who heard this, including the tax collectors, acknowledged the justice of God, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. But by refusing to be baptized by him, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves.)
Reflection by J. Mary Luti
You don’t have to be in jail to need to know. You don’t have to be facing execution to wonder. You don’t have to be watching your life’s work crumble to condense all your puzzlement and pain into one urgent question for Jesus: “Are you the one?”
All it takes is a shadow drifting across the sun of our faith—a contradiction, a failure, a loss. God zigs where we thought God would zag. Suddenly there are trees but no forest; pixels but no picture. Down go our hearts. Up goes our cry: “Are you really the one? Is this really the way?”
Jesus doesn’t offer pious assurances: “Tell John all will be well.” He doesn’t proclaim dogma: “Tell John God is in charge.” He doesn’t cite authority, “Tell him I said so.” He says, “Tell John what you see and hear.”
What you see and hear.
How do disillusioned hearts turn the corner to hope again? Often it’s when a sister or brother shares with us true stories about God’s mercy in their own lives and about the graceful things God is doing in the world—what they have seen and heard. And the more they tell, the more the big picture clarifies, and the more the risk of faith feels right again.
I doubt that authoritative utterances or pious assurances encouraged John in jail. But I bet his heart leapt when his disciples returned with Eyewitness News.
Lord, send me messengers with eyewitness news to encourage my faith. And send me to others, to tell them everything I know of you.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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