There is always continuity in the readings for daily Mass, especially the gospels. Often there is continuity in the story itself. The readings for the previous two days came from the gospel of St. Matthew. They described questioning of Jesus by the chief priest and elders of the Temple, wanting to know by whose authority Jesus was teaching in the Temple precincts. But Jesus turns the tables on them (having already overturned the tables in the Temple courtyard) and asks them questions about what was religiously playing out before their eyes, beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist. Lots of questions. A good week in which to ponder such things.
Two days ago was the Memorial of St. Lucy, the patron saint of the blind. Her name shares a linguistic root with the Latin lux, light. Her life and witness to Jesus brings light into the winter darkness of the season and the world.
Yesterday was the Memorial of St. John of the Cross, the great Spanish mystic who wrote “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.” (Ascent of Mt. Carmel)
In today’s gospel, the source has changed from Matthew to Luke, but there is continuity in the theme. Today the disciples of John the Baptist come with their own question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Luke 7:20). Jesus responds: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard.”
In yesterday’s gospel the chief priest and elders are challenged about the ministry of Jesus that led to the repentance of those considered the greatest of society’s sinners and “Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe” in the work of John the Baptist. The implication is that they have seen even greater things in the ministry of Jesus – and they still do not believe in the work of God in their time.
In our time and place, what have we seen and heard in the Light of Christ? May St. Lucy help our blindness, John of the Cross remind us upon whom to set our eyes, and may the witness of the Gospels answer our questions that we deeply believe.