We are inundated with social media influencers these days. Athletes, decorators, life coaches, entertainers–all have throngs of followers. Their message seems to be “Here’s how to live your dream.”
John the Baptist and Jesus were the counter-cultural influencers of their day. Word of mouth was their media. One person told another and so on. People spread the word by talking and asking questions. “Are you the one who is to come…?” They, too, were looking for the fulfillment of a dream, the long-awaited Messiah.
Jesus answers by telling them to look to his miracles. And to look for a Prophet who is more than a Prophet.
Who are the Prophets of today? They aren’t wearing designer clothes or living in mansions. You will find them on the margins of society: working to create shelter for the homeless, provide breakfast for school children, comfort for the aged, the imprisoned and those with mental illness.
Some might be famous, like Greta Thunberg or Pope Francis, and have social media accounts and followers. But the dream life they present is different: “Here’s how to include everyone so we all can live with dignity and meaning.”
Are there any modern miracles? Any lepers cleansed, anyone raised from the dead?
Miracles happen anytime a drug addict manages to get clean, a homeless senior finds a safe place to live, a refugee in a detention centre gets her freedom or a woman decides to give birth instead of having an abortion; anytime one more person is able to live a life with dignity and meaning. And those who give their time and talents to this work are the Prophets of today.
Let us pray for the grace to open our eyes and ears this Advent season to hear the Prophets and see the miracles all around us.