Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the nativity of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, the last of the prophets, and the one foretold in Isaiah, “the voice crying in the wilderness”. So what exactly did John come to do? He did not simply come to tell Israel and the world Christ was coming. They knew a messiah was coming, the Old Testament is clear the Lord will send into our world, a savior, one to deliver us from our sin and to save His people. John, however, came to call all people, those who knew the messiah was coming and those who did not, to repent, for all have sinned and have fallen into the darkness of their sin. John was the beginning of the actual “time of salvation” if you will, where God’s direct plan to redeem His people would be put into action.
Who has ever felt worthless, insignificant? Depression eats away at our hearts and minds. So many people, Christians included, feel as if they don’t matter at all to anyone in this world, or even to God Himself. In a world filled with people who seem more popular, more special, more valuable, it’s easy to feel like one sheep among a hundred, one coin among ten.
"Come, for everything is now ready!” That is the Church’s cry of 2,000 years. Salvation is accomplished! Eternal peace is yours! Come to Christ, all who are heavy-laden by this sinful, dying world with its poisoned air and dark despair. Come, for everything is now ready! Come, find rest for your souls and restoration for your bodies.
Why does the Rich Man in today’s Gospel go to hell? Why is Lazarus borne by the angels to Abraham’s bosom? Is it because of the life they lived? Is it because, in the end, God makes everything fair? The Rich Man had good things, so now it’s time for him to experience the bad? Lazarus starved, was unable to help himself in any way, and now lives in the lavishness of heaven that far exceeds what the Rich Man had? No. None of that is right, though we’d like it to be.