In a particular village, a river was going to be used to generate electricity and to supply water for the people and their crops.
But near the source of the river, was a place called “Valley of the Blind”.
The people who lived in and around this Valley, had trouble with their eyes…
… most of them were either blind or had some eye-defect.
>> This trouble was caused by a particular species of fly, which lived in the shrubs along the river-source.
.. When this fly bit someone, it would inject a certain parasite into the blood, which would render the eyesight of the person to be severely affected.
On hearing, that the people of the village had decided to tap the river for several uses including electricity and supply of water…
>> An elderly village man – who had lived his entire life in this village – …
… called together the concerned authorities and developers.
He told them:
” I am happy to hear that you are wanting to make progress by using effectively the river.
But my children, remember…
… before you undertake any works of development, please make sure that you do something to get rid of the fly in the ‘Valley of the Blind’!
>> If not, your minor oversight, may cause a major disaster!”
The wisdom of the old man reminded the people: Minor oversights can cause major disasters!
The Gospel of the Day is a bold reminder to make a thorough examination of our conscience…
… and check, if I am allowing “minor oversights” to cause “major disasters” in our lives!
We are on the third Sunday of the Season of Advent.
>> This is called the “Gaudete Sunday” – the Sunday of Joy.
We are nearly half way through the season in preparation for Christ.
Sometimes, like runners, in a marathon…
… we may feel tired of this preparation
… or we may think, when is the destination going to reach?
And so we may get wearied…tired… or feel exhausted.
But the Church – our caring Mother – knows Her children… and tells us….
” Just a few more days… and it will be Christmas!
Do not give up hope…
>> But instead, continue to prepare…
In joy… in happiness.. in expectancy…”
Thus, this Third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate as Gaudete (= Joyful, in Greek) Sunday.
The Gospel reading on this “Gaudete Sunday” begins with John the Baptist – who is in prison –
…sending his disciples to Jesus and asking: “Are you He who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
Last Sunday, we saw John the Baptist, “in a preaching mode” – in the wilderness
>> Today, he is in the “prison zone” – in captivity!
Here is an important lesson that John the Baptist teaches us:
… There will be times when you are in the highlight – preaching powerfully and being acknowledged with great power and might
… But there would also come times, when you are banished to isolation – with only the four walls of loneliness for company!
>> In all such moments – in the ‘glory of the wilderness’ and the ‘isolation of the prison’…
… Can we still remain faithful and loyal to the Will of the Lord?
… Can we still trust that God is pleased with my fidelity more than my performances?
… Can we still be zealous for the Ways of God, knowing that He will turn everything for our good?
At the same time, the Gospel reading (Mt 11: 2-11) powerfully reminds us…
… Do we have an “oversight” of the ways of God; and instead remain stuck in our own attitudes and thought-patterns.
>> Speaking of Himself, Jesus says:
“Go and tell John, what you hear and see; the blind receive their sight and the lame walk….” ( Mt 11:4-5)
>> Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus says:
“What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see?….” (Mt 11: 7-10)
Here were two cases of “oversights”
1. John the Baptist had the understanding…
… that Jesus would be coming with fiery judgements and would be a Messiah Who would deal with the people, with blazing power and scorching verdicts
>> But this turned out to be an “oversight” as Jesus showed Himself as a Messiah Who would heal, teach and bring the Mercy of God!
2. The people had the understanding…
… that John the Baptist would be a finely dressed and a people-friendly prophet – one who would be willing to “adjust” the norms of God for their lifestyle
>> But this turned out to be an “oversight” as John the Baptist turned out to be a prophet “who disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed.”
In both cases, there was an “oversight”…
Jesus was unwilling to let John the Baptist and the people to remain under the cloud of these “oversights”…
>> And so He presents the facts before them…
… in order to avoid any future “major disasters!”
The same examination is put forth before us, by the Lord: To check minor oversights.
Do we allow…
… “minor sins” – in the form of evil tendencies- to grow in us?
… “minor negligences” to develop into habitual practices?
… “minor indifferences” to take root in our relationships?
This “Gaudete Sunday” is an invitation to help us experience the joy of the Lord, by making us realise…
>> If these “minor oversights” are not corrected…
…. then they would soon turn into “major disasters!”
>> And we would get afflicted by the “Valley of the Blind”!
May we give heed to the strong reminder given by the Gospel, and amend our “minor oversights”…
… so that we can tap the “river of graces” in this Season of Advent, and prepare our hearts – meaningfully – to celebrate the “major blessings” of Christmas!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not even if your whole world seems upset.
>> If you find that you have wandered away from the shelter of God, lead your heart back to Him – quietly and simply!”