As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the one who was acclaimed as the savior of the world, we need to realize that the salvation Jesus came to bring is not limited to eternal life.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 11:2-11), we read that while he was in prison, John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” John wanted to know if Jesus truly was the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Savior of the World.

Jesus responded by telling the emissaries from John to report what they were hearing and seeing. “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”

The salvation Jesus was bringing was not limited to the future but involved the present as well. He was bringing healing and wholeness to the suffering in this life. He was not just “saving” people so they might have a place in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus was making their lives better as he encountered them and showed them his mercy and compassion.

Today, the Church continues Jesus’ work of salvation.

It saves people from seeing their lives as meaningless, as merely the result of chance. It proclaims the meaning of human existence found in the scriptures and in Jesus, the “way, the truth, and the life.”

It saves people from the power of sin and from believing they can never move beyond their past failures. It offers them God’s forgiveness and the opportunity to start again.

It saves people from the fear of death and from thinking they are nothing more than a momentary spark in the immensity of the universe. It declares that those who put their faith in Jesus are caught up into God’s eternal life and love.

It saves people from hunger, homelessness, disease, exploitation, ignorance and loneliness. It makes the compassion and healing of Jesus present in our day through its many social services, charitable endeavors, educational institutions and advocacy for justice.

Jesus assured those sent by John the Baptist that he was the one who was expected. He was the one who had come to save the people. He did that by pointing out to them what he was doing to bring healing, wholeness and mercy to the suffering. Today, the Church makes present that saving mission of Jesus Christ.

So, do you want to be saved, and saved right now? If we truly understand the fullness of salvation Jesus offers, our answer will be a definite YES! Save me Lord and save me now!

© 2019 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski