By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB
I am sending a messenger ahead of you; he will prepare the way before you. – Matthew 11:10
In this enigmatic statement, Jesus responds to the question: Are you the one who is to come or should we look for another?
In Jesus’ answer, we hear the reason for Advent. We are to listen to the messenger, John the Baptist. We are to prepare for the One.
John has told us we are to produce good fruit as evidence of our repentance. We know what we are to do: love our neighbor as ourselves.
Who is our neighbor?
The person in our living room, next door, the next cubicle, the grocery store. Our neighbor is also the person across the continent who is hungry, in prison, in Haiti, in Syria.
Finally, Jesus tells his followers that no one is greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
That means the LEAST in the kingdom – you and I – can be great, even greater than TV stars, famous politicians, celebrities.
We are great when we produce good fruit.
When we listen to the lonely, encourage the discouraged, bring faith, hope and light to those who have hit bottom.
When we ourselves die for others.
How are your preparations going?