For Friday of the Second Week of Advent
In his ancient prophecy today, the Lord tells us his commandments are for our good, and they open the way for us to live forever in his presence.
He lived for a time among us on earth.
To some of his day he seemed “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
Many did not believe his to be the way of the commandments, nor of wisdom.
The same persons smeared John the Baptist, though they thought him the opposite of Jesus.
John did not eat or drink much.
He did not befriend tax collectors and sinners.
He lived alone in the wilderness.
Some said John was demon-possessed.
John, the “party pooper,” and Jesus the “party boy.”
That seems to be how some people saw the two men.
How did Jesus and John see each other?
In the Gospel at Mass yesterday, today, and tomorrow, Jesus speaks of John.
Though it is greater to be born least in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said John is the greatest man born of woman.
Today Jesus vindicates John’s wisdom and works.
Tomorrow Jesus will say John was the prophet who was to come and restore all things.
Restoring all things— that was to be John’s surpassing greatness in the human race.
John opened the restoration of all things by telling Israel to open itself for repentance, turn away from sin, and be ready to face the Lord who was coming.
When the Lord Jesus arrived, John told those who were ready, those who had turned away from their sins, “See the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and go follow him!”
Between John and Jesus, the wisdom of the kingdom of heaven waged a two-pronged attack.
John led people away from evil.
Jesus brought his godhead and his goodness into their midst.
John shunned the food and drink of this world.
Jesus invaded the world of food and drink, charging into the midst of tax collectors, sinners, gluttons, and drunkards.
Here at the Eucharist, John and his words are still present and alive in the Church, to call us away from sin.
This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Here at the Eucharist, Jesus still conquers the food and drink of this world, overcoming bread and wine with his godhead and his goodness.
Here he is still among the gluttons and drunkards, and still the friend of tax collectors and sinners.
If we want to live in the real presence of God forever, we must heed John the Baptist, turning from our sins, confessing them to God, and asking his forgiveness.
Jesus, God, both showed the fullness of his manhood and began the work of his manhood for the first time among those who went to John the Baptist at the River Jordan.
When men turn from sin, face up to God, and ask for forgiveness, Jesus begins to make known the fullness of his presence and his work.
Jesus, Son of Man, we are gluttons, we are drunkards, we are tax collectors, and we are sinners.
Since you are the Lamb of God, take away our sins, have mercy on us, come to us, be our friend, and let us eat and drink in your real presence!