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December 15, 2019: Third Sunday of Advent

Reading: Matthew 11:2-11

(taken from “The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language” by Eugene H. Peterson

“John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, ‘Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?’ Jesus told them, ‘Go back and tell John what’s going on:

The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.

Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!’

When John’s disciples left to report, Jesus started talking to the crowd about John. ‘What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A weekend camper? Hardly. What then? A Sheik in silk pajamas? Not in the wilderness, not by a long shot. What then? A prophet? That’s right, a prophet! Probably the best prophet you’ll ever hear. He is the prophet that Malachi announced when he wrote, ‘I’m sending my prophet ahead of you, to make the road smooth for you.’

Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared for you, the lowliest person is ahead of him.”


Matthew is doing a number on me this season with all this illumination of how my expectations impact what and how I see. The phrase “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting” made me laugh out loud.  How many times I have asked this question in my life! I have been working more this year on paying attention – really paying attention. I have practiced noticing. Even as I focus intention on this active noticing, I miss things or I see things that are not really present.


Matthew made the action very clear this week. He even created one experience for us for every day of the week ahead. Go out in the world this week and notice.

Monday – the blind see,
Tuesday – the lame walk,
Wednesday – lepers are cleansed,
Thursday – the deaf hear,
Friday – the dead are raised,
Saturday – the wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.

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Alice Shelton

Providence Associate Alice Shelton lives in Indianapolis with her husband John. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and enjoys her work as director of business services at Marian University.

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1 Comment

  1. Denise Wilkinson on December 19, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Just catching up with last week’s gospel. So now I have only 2 1/2 days to keep my eyes open for God’s surprises. Thanks for the assignment!

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