Friday, December 10, 2010
Prepare, Ponder and Pray the Scriptures of the Third Sunday of Advent.
December 12, 2010
Reading I: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Reading II: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
It is important to be authentic in today's world.
Of course, today's advertising is not alone in seeing the appeal of authenticity. Companies everywhere are sensing that consumers gravitate towards products that appear to be true and genuine. For example, Starbucks is popular because it imitates authentic Italian espresso. BMW's taps into people’s natural desire for joy and freedom on the road. Organic foods are flying off the shelves because people sense that they are connected to farming practices that are healthy and good.
Authenticity is hot. But how do you tell the difference between what is “really real” and what is “fake real”? How do you differentiate between a true espresso and a Starbucks?
The authenticity question is raised because John the Baptist raises this issue while locked up in prison for offending King Herod. John sent his disciples to Jesus, and they asked him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” John needed to know if Jesus was a really real messiah, or a fake real messiah.
Now there were lots of false messiahs running around the region, claiming to be the one and only. There was no shortage of fake messiahs claiming to be authentic, which is why John asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
The answer Jesus gives is fascinating. He doesn’t say “yes” or “no,” but suggests that they look around and make up their own minds. “Go and tell John what you hear and see,” says Jesus: “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."
Look at what I am doing, Jesus suggests — then decide for yourself whether I am a really real Messiah. Authenticity is to be found in actions, not words — but rarely are people completely confident in the performance of their product.
Look at what Jesus is doing here, not at what he is saying. He’s not just talking the talk; he’s walking the walk. His actions are proving that he’s really real, not fake real.
He is the Authentic Messiah.