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3 Advent - Matthew 11:2-11

It was a dark and stormy night.

The small band of travelers trudged through the mud and the rain to the bank of the river,

which was swollen and surging, and they stopped, considering whether to keep going.

Saint Teresa disembarked and went ahead on foot: "We are doing the Lord's work, so how could we die in a better cause?"

In the angry river she lost her footing ... and nearly her life.

When she finally stumbled to safety, she prayed, "O Lord, when will you stop with all

the obstacles?"

The Lord answered, "Don't complain, daughter; this is how I treat all my friends."

Teresa replied, "That's why you have so few of them."

The greatest of all God's prophets sits in Herod's prison cell, alone with his doubts.

He sends his disciples to the one he baptized with his lonely, mocking question: Are you

the one..., or are we to wait for another?

Jesus sends back an unsatisfying answer.

Go and tell John what you hear and see, which of course is all any of us can do.

Theological arguments ring hollow in hell.

In the grip of suffering and tragedy and prison, right answers don't help.

Who cares how a flashlight works when you don't have one?

Jesus tries to widen John's view through eyes that have also looked into John's.

Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.

John would surely hear the echoes of Isaiah, recognize the drumbeat of the faith.

He would surely see the lives transformed in the direction of God's will, which is what

his baptism and preaching were all about.

And, as professor Craig Koester points out, he would likely also think, "and I'm still in jail."

Why, O Lord?