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 advocates are sickened by candidates for public office waffling on the issue out of political expediency. Certainly people can change heart on any issue, but abortion politics defies parameters of true conversion. John the Baptist stands as the direct opposite of the ambitious politician.
In today’s gospel Jesus does not see John the Baptist as a reed bending in the wind because he sought to please people trying to justify their sins. To the contrary he counts him as a prophet because he holds people accountable to God’s law. Jesus assures as well that the Baptist a not court dandy wearing kingly gifts of fine robes. Rather he is content with the crudest of garments because he trusts in the Providence of the. The irony of the declarations about John is that despite all of his virtues as a prophet, Jesus does not compare him 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.
John the Baptist is a saint worthy of our emulation as well as our invocation. Yet like all humans he was, at least at times, partially blind to the fullness of God’s goodness. We want to stand like him always making ourselves smaller so that Christ may become greater. But we also want to remember God’s mercy which exceeds His righteous judgment.