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Recognize Jesus!

May the nearness of the savior fill you with joy! There were probably many different ideas of what things would be like when the Messiah would come.  It is probable that Jesus didn’t fulfill the expectations that many people had of the Messiah.  For one thing, the Kingdom that Jesus came to establish was not of this world; it wasn’t focused on power and domination, it wasn’t centered on money and luxury, it wasn’t a display of wealth and finery.  However, his kingdom did become evident in the fields, hillsides and little towns around Galilee.  Many of the people did not recognize the Messiah when he came.  John the Baptist, his herald, even had to ask.  I think it would be good for all of us to be as direct as John and ask ourselves the same question “will I recognize him when he comes?”  “What will the signs be that he is truly the one?”  Jesus’ response to John’s question indicates the fulfillment of the prophet’s words – the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, the mute sing, the ransomed are filled with joy and gladness.  The king was clad in a carpenter’s clothes with worn sandals.  The riches of the Prince of Peace were not in stocks and bonds and safe in a treasury.  They were freely deposited in the hearts and minds of those who came to believe in him.  This Sunday is referred to as Gaudete Sunday, which means “Rejoice.”  We are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus has ransomed us from sin and death and many of us experience being freed from our sins through our communal penance service.  We know and believe that Jesus reaches out to us and it is our joy when we reach out to others.  Jesus entered our world of hate to give us the power to build a world of love. We believe that Jesus understands us, even when we don’t understand ourselves.  We believe that God is always with us, even when we aren’t always with God.  God is our Father because he has treated us as his children in Christ and for this, we do have reason to rejoice!  After all, each one of us is considered greater than John the Baptist!  Share the joy of Christ’s presence in your life with others!+++ Fr. Peter