Marching forward with our shortcomings

At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the LORD to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 
~ Luke 7.18

When I was a young girl I briefly entertained the dream of becoming a drum majorette (after receiving a twirling baton for Christmas). I had visions of sending my beautiful baton spinning through the air, dazzling the crowds with my talent. Many of us possess what Martin Luther King Jr. called the “drum-major instinct,” that desire to lead the parade, to be first, to walk in front. The way life goes, however, we are more likely to end up carrying a small banner at the rear or playing the triangle deep in the ranks of the marching band.


Wherever we are in the parade, we can bear witness to God’s power and love, as the two endearingly human disciples of John the Baptist show in today’s Gospel. Sent by their imprisoned leader to question a man who is rumored to be the long-awaited Messiah, they approach Jesus perhaps a bit nervously. They blurt out John’s question verbatim (we can imagine them repeating it constantly along the way, terrified of getting it wrong). In reply, Jesus shows rather than tells: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, the deaf hear.

Then as now, we need only pay attention to see many instances of God’s grace all around us. People with impaired moral vision come to see the truth of his message. Some who are stuck in difficult circumstances can move forward with their lives. Others who have tuned out God’s voice have their ears opened. In every age, the wounds, deficiencies, and shortcomings of human existence are healed through the radiant power of Christ. Let us march forward, then, bearing witness to his work in the world.

Generous and merciful Lord, In this world of constant sorrow, keep my eyes and ears attuned to your healing work every day. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

You can access the complete collection of the Advent 2015 Reflection Series here.

If you would like to receive these reflections via a daily e-mail, contact Elizabeth Kirkland Cahill at

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The news from Ireland and the United States reminds us of Herod, of Pharaoh. What culture betrays its children?
The EditorsMay 26, 2018
A woman religious casts her ballot May 25 in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion. Voters went to the polls May 25 to decide whether to liberalize the country's abortion laws. (CNS photo/Alex Fraser, Reuters)
The repeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the right to life of the unborn, is passing by a 2-1 margin with most of the votes counted.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018