The Third Wednesday of Advent

“And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” The last line of today’s Gospel is worth reflecting on.  We’re used to hearing that those who believe in Jesus are blessed.  But today He tells John the Baptist’s disciples that those who take no offense at him are blessed.

A rational person might say, “who would take offense at Jesus?  Wasn’t He a man of peace and love?  Wasn’t He a man without sin?”  But we know that there were, and still are, a lot of people who take offense at Him.

On Sunday I gave you a link to a YouTube video called “Christmas with a Capital ‘C'”.  At one point it asks the question, “Why are people afraid to say ‘Merry Christmas.'”  The answer?  “It’s got Christ in it and  after 2,000 years he’s still intimidating people.  When a religious person says ‘I am the way’ people don’t want to hear it.”

It’s true.  They didn’t want to hear it in the first century and there are a lot of people who don’t want to hear it today.  Being a Christian is hard.  It takes work.  It takes commitment.  It takes humbling yourself, just like the Son of God humbled Himself by becoming one of us.  You can either put yourself first of you can put Christ first.

But is Jesus telling us that we can be blessed just by not taking offense at Him?  Is that all we have to do, or not do?  No, that’s not what He’s saying.

We have to remember the times that He lived in.  Blasphemy was a BIG deal.  Anyone who knew Him had one of two choices.  They either believed Him, which meant they no choice but to follow Him.  Or they didn’t believe Him, which meant they saw him as a blasphemer, and would take offense at Him.

So, He’s not letting us off the hook.  “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me” is just another way of saying, “Come.  Follow me.”  That’s what He’s asking us to do today.  And so we do.  We follow Him and try to follow His example.  We wait with joyful hope for His coming on the 25th of this month in the form of a little child.  A little child who changed the world.  By changing the world, he caused a lot of people to take offense.

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