for Alfie Evans, 16 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Britain.
Saint John the Baptist (Titian)
of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Advent, and the Blessing of the Advent Wreath
Humphreys' Advent 2017 Pastoral Letter
were written for our learning, that through patience and the comfort of the
scriptures, we might have hope.”
In this morning's Gospel two of the disciples of St.
John the Baptist approach our Lord to find out if “He is the One.” “Art
Thou He that is to come, or do we look for another.”
John had been gathering followers in the desert, “preaching a baptism of
repentance for sin,” and exhorting people to prepare for the coming of “the
One who is to come.”
Now, that one is the One whom the Jews referred to as
the “Messiah,” or the “anointed one,” or in Greek, “the Christ.” What
Saint John was preaching was no innovation. This doctrine of the coming
Messiah was known to all of the Jewish people since the time of Adam, when
it was foretold that God would send a Savior to “crush the head of the
serpent” and redeem fallen man from original sin.
Over the centuries, God gave His people an even greater
knowledge of the coming Messiah through the preaching of His prophets:
Abraham was promised that one of his descendants would
be a “blessing to all the nations.”
We read in both Isaias and Jeremias (31: 21ff) that the
promised One would be born of a Virgin. “A Virgin shall conceive and bear a
Son and His name shall be called Emmanuel,” meaning “God is with His
The Archangel Gabriel revealed to the prophet Daniel
(9:24ff) the time of the birth of the Christ, that many of the people would
deny Him, that they would put Him to death, and that the sacrifices of the
Old Law would be abolished until the end of time.
The prophet Micheas (5:2) named the place of the
Messiah's birth: "out of Á Bethlehem Á will come forth the ruler of Israel."
Likewise we hear from Aggeus (2: 8) that "the desired
of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory."
Jeremias (23:5) speaks of the anointed King exercising
"justice and judgement over all the earth Á Juda shall be saved, and Israel
shall dwell confidently."
The Psalms are filled with references to our Lord as
eternal priest and king, ruling over the nations and “a priest forever
according to the order of Melchisedech.”
But, on the other hand, Isaias (53: 1-12) speaks of the
terrible price the Messiah would have to pay for our sins: "A man of
sorrows, acquainted with infirmity.,,, He has borne our infirmities and
carried our sorrows ... He was wounded for our iniquities, bruised for our
sins ... and by His bruises we are healed ''' no deceit was found in His mouth
He shall lay down His life for sin.
God even spoke through the mouth of Sophoniah (3:8) of
the unfaithfulness of the people of Jerusalem, of His Resurrection from the
dead, and of His conversion of the gentiles and a remnant of the Jews.
Thus the Jewish people knew that the coming Messias
would be all these things; a savior, first of all for that is what the name
of "Jesus" means; a just judge and deliverer from oppression; a bringer to
earth of God's glory but also the "suffering servant" of God and men;
one who would be rejected by the people; one who would be put to death;
and finally, one who would rise from the dead in triumph over death.
Even John the Baptist is hinted at by the prophet
Malachy (3:1), through whom God said, “Behold I send my messenger, and he
shall prepare the way before my face…. the Lord whom you seek … shall come
to His temple … and like a refining fire … He shall purify the sons of
So when John's disciples approached Jesus in order to
ask Him if He was the One to come, they already had a pretty good idea of
what to expect. They knew just who was coming, and where and when, and what
He would be like. And, as our Lord pointed out, they had already seen His
miracles: “The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the dead rise
again.” We read elsewhere that they left John and followed Jesus.
Now this Gospel is read to us in order to prepare us
for the coming of this same Messiah at Christmas time. That is to say that
by knowing of His role as Savior and deliver and judge and king; as well as
his role as suffering servant and sacrificial victim we may be inspired to
That is the purpose of Advent, to review these things
amidst fasting and penance, so that once again they might become real to us
so that we won't be like the people of the Old Testament, who rejected our
Lord even though they knew quite well who He was. But rather, by spending
the next few weeks in contemplating the coming of our Savior, we may receive
this blessing that Saint Paul wishes for us in today's epistle:
“May the God
of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing,
that we may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.”