Engaging the Gospel: Third Sunday of Advent

Gospel – Matthew 11:2-11: Jesus answers John the Baptist’s question by recounting His fulfillment of prophecy

The fulfillment of prophecy is a recurring theme in St. Matthew’s Gospel, as exemplified in today’s passage. When St. John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus if He indeed is the one to come, the Lord responds by citing His miracles — the signs of the Messianic age as foretold by the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus’ wondrous deeds “manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah…They invite belief in him…So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God” (Catechism paragraphs 547-48).

Therefore Jesus’ response to the disciples, who would bring this confirmation back to John in prison, reminds us that faith involves our intellect too. Jesus provides evidence to appeal to our rational minds.

Such proofs of the truth of divine revelation are called “motives of credibility, which show that the assent of faith is by no means a blind impulse of the mind” (156).

As the Council Fathers of Vatican II noted, God’s deeds and words have an “inner unity; the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them” (Dei Verbum 2).

Question for reflection: How have I sought answers to questions of faith?

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