What a strange question, especially from John the Baptist. Notonly was John Jesus’ kinsman, but he had baptized Jesus andseen the Spirit descend upon him. But now that he is in prisonand awaiting execution, John seems uncertain. Was he weariedby suffering? Did he need reassurance that he had not laboredin vain? Or had he heard rumors of plots to kill Jesus andcouldn’t conceive that God’s Messiah would suffer death? Wejust don’t know.John’s time was short. Concerned for his followers, he wouldn’twant them to fall away once he died. His mission had alwaysbeen to lead people to Jesus, and he was determined to befaithful to that mission right up to the very end. So it makessense that before he died, John would want his disciples toknow for themselves that Jesus was the Messiah. It makessense that meeting Jesus would persuade them far more thanJohn’s words.John’s question resonates in our hearts too. Is Jesus reallywho he says he is? Can we find joy in him no matter what? Ofcourse, we already have faith in Jesus, but don’t we all needmore? So John sends us to Jesus, along with his disciples, sothat we can hear and see him.Today is Gaudete Sunday, a day to rejoice that the Messiahis near. So when you see Jesus on the cross in your church,when you hear him in his word and receive him in Communion,echo John’s question: “Are you the one my heart is searchingfor?” Try to quiet your heart, and listen for his answer. Let himconvince you of his love and his grace. And then rejoice withhim.