Gaudete: Rejoice! by Gayle Somers

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By Gayle Somers, Catholic Exchange, Dec. 9, 2022

Gayle Somers is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Phoenix and has been writing and leading parish Bible studies since 1996. …

This week is Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday.  Our Gospel gives us John the Baptist in prison as our meditation.  Isn’t that a bit downbeat?

Gospel (Read Mt 11:2-11)

St. Matthew tells us that John the Baptist “heard in prison of the works of the Christ” in Galilee, undoubtedly from his own disciples.  He sent those disciples to Jesus with a question:  Are You the One Who is to come, or should we look for another?”  What prompted this question?  It is highly unlikely that John himself had any doubts about Jesus.  John was the very first one to proclaim about Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29).  He recognized Jesus as the one Who would be sacrificed, like the Passover lamb, for us.  Some have suggested that John began to waiver in his conviction when he ended up in prison for criticizing Herod.  Perhaps he expected deliverance by the Messiah.  However, John knew the fate of all the prophets God had ever sent to His people.  They were resisted, persecuted, and sometimes killed.  Surely his imprisonment did not surprise him.  He knew that Jesus, too, would be opposed to the point of shedding His blood.  Did he really expect to be sprung from his martyrdom?  A more plausible explanation of this episode is that John’s disciples were disappointed in Jesus’ seeming indifference to John’s situaion, so the Baptist sent them to Jesus to clear up their doubts. …

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