14th December 2022
ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS TO COME
Memorial of St John of the Cross Priest and Doctor
St. John of the Cross was born in Fontiveros, in Spain, in about 1542. He spent some time as a Carmelite friar before, in 1568, Saint Teresa of Ávila persuaded him to pioneer the reform of the Carmelite order. This was a difficult task and a dangerous one: he suffered imprisonment and severe punishment at the hands of the Church authorities. He died at the monastery of Ubeda in Andalusia on 14 December 1591: the monks there had initially treated him as the worst of sinners, but by the time he died they had recognized his sanctity and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm.
His works include two major mystical poems. He is considered one of the great poets of the Spanish language and he detailed commentaries on them and the spiritual truths they convey. He was canonized in 1726 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926.
How can we know that Jesus is who he claims to be, the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and Savior of the world? Is our faith a blind leap we must take without certainty or proof? John the Baptist sent his disciples to question Jesus about his claim to be God’s anointed Messiah. Did John have doubts about Jesus and his claim to divinity? Not likely, since John had earlier revealed Jesus’ mission at the River Jordan when he exclaimed, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
John saw from a distance what Jesus would accomplish through his atoning sacrifice on the cross - our redemption from bondage to sin, condemnation, and death, and our adoption as sons and daughters of God and citizens of the kingdom of heaven. John very likely sent his disciples to Jesus because he wanted them to hear and see firsthand for themselves the signs and proof that the Messiah had indeed come in the person of Jesus who was sent by the Father in heaven and anointed by the Spirit at the River Jordan.
Dear brethren, the miracles which Jesus performed and the message he proclaimed about the coming of God’s kingdom in his person was a direct fulfillment of what the prophets had foretold many centuries before (Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 61:1). Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom and new life for all who were oppressed by afflictions, infirmities, sin and guilt, and demonic spirits (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus came in the power of God’s kingdom to release those bound up by sin, fear, and hopelessness. His miracles and exorcisms are direct signs of God’s power and presence and they confirm that the Father has sent his only begotten Son to be our Messiah (which means the Anointed One) and Savior.
Through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and through the power of his resurrection we receive the firstfruits of God’s kingdom - the forgiveness of our sins, adoption as sons and daughters of God, new life in the Holy Spirit, and the promise that we will be raised to everlasting life with God in his kingdom. The Gospel is “good news” for all who receive it and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know and witness to others the joy and good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Set our hearts aflame with the fire of your love and with the power of the Holy Spirit that we may boldly witness the joy of the Gospel and serve your kingdom wherever you place us.