Thursday December 8th: A call to serve
December 8, 2022
Friday December 9th: Closed Minds
December 9, 2022

3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

All is not lost!

By Abbot John Pereira OSB

MATT 11:2–11

“John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing…”
(Mt 11:2)

Even in his prison, the goodness of Christ could not be hidden from the ears of John. The goodness of Christ is always at work and can never be contained.
Yes, John was in a physical prison. We may never experience the coldness of a physical prison cell. But many of us are actually “living in jail”.
The Mighty Penguin was crowned in 1984 as Trinidad’s Calypso Monarch by singing his prophetic ‘We Living in Jail’. His lyrics are even more relevant today.
Between Covid, crime, corruption, and climate change, we are all living behind lock and key. According to Penguin, “While criminals are out on bail, citizens catching their tail…”
But all is not lost. Advent is a time to hear what Christ is doing, even in our “prison”, just as John in his prison had heard all that Jesus was doing.
In today’s First Reading at Mass (Is 35:1–6, 10), we are reminded of the Messianic vision of the prophet Isaiah: “Let the desert and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy…” (Is 35:1–2).
The desert of our present-day prison cell always has the potential for good and that is what John was to discover in his own prison cell. The dryness and the coldness of our present reality is called to exult and bloom.
There is life in our present predicament. This is one of the paradoxes of the spiritual life. It is the fact that even in the face of disaster and despair, Christ is at work and, just like John, we can hear all the good that is being done.
The goodness of Christ can neither be constrained nor contained.
As we journey through this time of Advent, a time of prayer, waiting and hope, we listen to the words and the works of Jesus as catalysts of new life during these depressing times. All is not lost!

Heavenly Father, like John the Baptist we hear the works of your son, Jesus, even while we are in ‘prison’. We know that Jesus is alive and all His words and works. These bring hope as we continue to await His coming into our lives and into our land. We thank You for Your continual love for us. Amen.

The gospel reflections for December are by Abbot John Pereira OSB of the Abbey of Our Lady of Exile, Mount St Benedict.