It’s fascinating for me to reflect on the existence of angels. The one thing that gets me the most is that angels can be creative in their messaging. Anyone involved in marketing and sales might find that fact interesting! I recently listened to a talk where the individual shared that the angel Gabriel got to formulate in his own way and own words how he would tell Mary that she was to conceive and bear the God Man. Wow! Could you imagine trying to come up with that message?
But, sometimes it’s not too difficult to come up with messaging and announcements, because often the message typically flows from your creative genes and passions, doesn’t it? For Gabriel, it flows from his love and obedience for God, as well as his excitement for mankind.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear of another messenger too who was moved by his love and his obedience for God. But, this time, it’s a man. It’s the man in the desert who has taken on the role of Elijah, the one who was destined to share that the Savior has arrived and that he is walking in their midst! It’s John the Baptist, whom some noticed to be a prophet, whom many sought for baptism, but also whom many really didn’t notice, or rather choose to not notice or acknowledge his greatness, especially regarding his significance in the salvific message and timeline. Or did they? Were the people afraid of what John had to share? Probably many were afraid! And what happens when people fear something? They react. In this case, someone reacted and John the Baptist suffered and was martyred. We read (and know) the same will happen to Jesus when he comes, thus Matthew states: “So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
Gabriel…John the Baptist…you…and me… we’ve all been given a message to share regarding God to the world. To be a messenger, a catechist, an evangelizer and missionary creates a certain way of life for us. One of great joy, but also a life that can hold great suffering!
At this point in my life, God has asked me to share his message of mercy to help people overcome sexual addictions, especially with pornography. Jesus has asked me to go to where the suffering is and to help those who are indeed suffering. I find great suffering in the marriages and families where the pornographic culture has inserted itself. I do what I can to offer others great resources from organizations like Covenant Eyes and Integrity Restored. I do this with a sense of urgency and with the motivation of offering a deeper relationship with God to each mother, father, husband, wife and child that I meet. Are these efforts easy? No. Is this work always fun? No. While it’s not the same kind of suffering that John the Baptist experienced, there can still be an experience of suffering in this work. That is OK! As we can see in Scripture, suffering is a theme that’s strong in the Christian life. If we are seeking to live the Christian call, we will experience in some way a form of suffering, which ultimately brings us closer to God.
Again, you and I are not John the Baptist, and we are definitely not Gabriel either. But we have been tasked with individual missions to proclaim the way of the Lord. What message are you being called to share with others?
Reflect throughout the Third Week of Advent about the message God is inviting you to give to your family, friends and community.
Amanda Zurface is the Catholic Campaign Coordinator for Covenant Eyes. Amanda holds a License and MA in Canon Law and BAs in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. Amanda has served in various roles within the Catholic Church both in the United States and internationally. She is the co-author of Transformed by Beauty. She resides in Washington Court House, Ohio.
You can find out more about protecting your family and your home at covenanteyes.com.