Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
(Isaiah 54:1-10; Luke 7:24-30)
One of the most troubling occurrences to people on both sides of the abortion debate is the way politicians use the issue. Both pro-choice and pro-life candidates for public office have waffled on the issue depending on political winds. Certainly we must leave room for the possibility of a change of heart on any issue, but abortion politics defies parameters of true conversion. One could never accuse John the Baptist of courting political favor. Jesus does not see him as a reed bending in the wind because he did not seek any group’s endorsement but as a true prophet stands always with God’s law.
Nor is the Baptist a court dandy. Because he does not play up to kings and princes, he will not be wearing their political gifts of fine robes. He is content with the crudest of garments because he trusts in the Lord who is truer than any monarch. Jesus also underlines this fact in today’s gospel. The irony of Jesus’ statement is that despite all of John’s virtue as a prophet, he does not compare favorably with those who have experienced the Kingdom of God. The latter know of God’s tender mercy where John only views God’s righteous judgment. It has been said that Thomas Aquinas held that God’s justice never sank lower than His mercy in order to retrieve sinners. Jesus assures us of this truth in the gospel today.