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Liturgy: Art Thou He Who Art to Come?

December 02, 2016
"John the Baptist (John in the Wilderness)" - Caravaggio: c. 1694 | Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Relate what you have seen: The blind recover their sight, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them, alleluia!

“Art thou He that art to come, or look we for another?” (Magnificat antiphon of the Second Sunday of Advent).

Today's liturgy is filled with the thought of Isaias (whose name means 'the Lord saves '), since he is beyond all others, the prophet who proclaims the coming of Christ the Redeemer. He foretold seven centuries before, that "a virgin" should "conceive and bear" a son, "Emmanuel" (Is. 7:14), and that God would send His "angel", that it is John the Baptist who should "prepare His way before Him” (Gospel) and the Messias should come clothed with the power of God Himself to free all nations from the bondage of Satan.

He goes on:
 

The root of Jesse, shall rise up to rule the nations (Epistle), and the deaf and the blind, plunged in darkness, that is the heathen, shall hear the words of release and shall see (Gospel). Then shall the true Jerusalem, that is the Church, "tremble with joy (Communion), for all the nations, sanctified by Christ shall flow unto it." (Gradual).

When the imprisoned St. John the Baptist, by sending his disciples to Christ, caused our Blessed Lord to be asked if He were indeed “He who art to come,” Christ proved His Divine Mission by the miracles worked by Him. St. Gregory the Great explains:
 

But after so many wonders the death of Jesus caused great scandal in the hearts of men faithless to God; and Christ Himself forewarned us against this stumbling-block to which the Jews fell victim.”

Let us, therefore, welcome our Lord in the lowliness of His manger, for then He will welcome us in His glory when he comes again to judge the world.

Source: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.