December 15, 2018

Once again the gospel refers to John the Baptist as the one whose role is to prepare us for the One who is to come. Through the prophet Malachi, and the reading from Sirach in today’s liturgy, the Jews’ expectation of the return of Elijah to prepare the way for the promised Messiah, has grown. But they fail to recognize Elijah’s presence in the person of John the Baptist, whose only power is that of the Spirit of God, calling all people to conversion of heart in order to receive the Christ. Jesus, however, did see him as such.

Jesus also links John’s death to his own suffering and death. From the moment of his birth at Bethlehem, Jesus shows us what it means to obey with love, including even willingness to accept the cross. This loving obedience is what gives his suffering its redemptive value. In Bethlehem, Christ teaches us that only a loving obedience frees, only loving obedience redeems and sanctifies, only loving obedience enriches. Loving obedience is the path to holiness, the way to the Father’s house.

Each Mass reminds us of the depth of Jesus’ love for his Father and for us. Our “Amen” at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and at communion is our telling Jesus that everything that he stood for, how he lived his life is what we also commit ourselves to. We wish, like him, to live not for ourselves but for one another.

Can we embrace the cross of obedience in the challenging circumstances of our daily lives, in the trials brought by the passing of years, in the sorrow that afflicts us when God calls our loved ones back to him?

Let Us Pray:

Mary, help me to embrace God’s will in my life, just as Christ embraced the Father’s plan for our salvation.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)


About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.