In today’s reading, we hear about John the Baptist and his prophetic ministry to “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” When I think about John the Baptist (and really any historical or modern prophet), the phrase, “comfort the afflicted but also afflict the comfortable,” always comes to mind. John served as the “voice of the desert,” crying out that the world is not as it should be, and we as a community are called to repent and put on “the cloak of Justice” (from Baruch).
In a straightforward and loud way, John calls those who are comfortable to see the afflicted in our community and do something about it. This time of year, the Post-Dispatch shares stories from “100 Neediest Cases,” and people are compelled and encouraged to help when they hear the following:
Ms. R is a 59-year-old woman who lives alone, is visually impaired and has eight grandchildren. She’s on a fixed income and has nothing to spare, considering her meager disability payments. She’s barely able to pay her bills and hasn’t been able to afford Christmas gifts for her grandchildren for years. She wishes for help in providing them with a bright holiday.
Only the most cold person would not want to help Ms. R and her family in some way. The sad truth is that there are THOUSANDS of cases each year, and they must limit the number to 100. Are we able to hear the cry of those seeking comfort? Or is our comfort more important? How will we as a community of faith be changed by the call to action?
–Mr. Timothy Halfmann-Morris, Religion Teacher