Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
Isaiah 54:1-10 + Luke 7:24-30
December 15, 2106
“‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you….’”
St. Luke the Evangelist ends today’s Gospel passage ends with a long parenthetical statement. The contrast he makes there frames not only today’s passage, but the whole of Advent.
The evangelist’s contrast hinges on the baptism of John. Those such as tax collectors who accepted John’s baptism “acknowledged the righteousness of God”, while those such as the Pharisees and scholars of the Law who did not accept it “rejected the plan of God for themselves.”
That latter phrase is telling. The evangelist is stating very plainly that God had a plan for the Pharisees and scholars of the Law themselves. God was personally reaching out to these individuals, but in rejecting John’s baptism, they rejected God.
What was John’s baptism about? In a word, John’s baptism was about repentance. The Pharisees and scholars of the Law rejected their need for repentance, while the tax collectors acknowledged their need for repentance. This is why Advent, like Lent, is a penitential season. Only through repentance can we accept from God the Gift that offers us righteousness.