DEC.13. ADVENT. WK. 3. SUN. (B) JN. 1. 6-8, 19-28.
A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.’
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.
There is great similarity between the mission of John in his earthly life and our own mission / vocation as proclaimed in this reading: “He came as a witness; - as a witness to speak for the light; - so that everyone might believe through him. - He was not the light; - only a witness to speak for the light!”
Is this not an almost perfect description of the role or the duty of a baptised Christian; - to be a witness, to speak on behalf of Christ; - and to allow our witness to be seen by others? And to be just as emphatic as John was in saying: “I am not the Christ?”
John made it clear; - he was merely a witness; - sent to proclaim Christ in words and actions!
And he also made it plain he was not seeking glory for himself when he said: ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’
John was a humble person, very aware of his God-given Mission, and he proceeded to carry out that mission with Faith and Trust in God; - while claiming no honour or glory for himself.
Obviously, he was also given the graces necessary to carry out his mission in life, just as we will be if we proceed as he did; - a humble man of prayer who put his faith, and trust in God; - rather than trusting in his own ‘wisdom’ or ‘ability’.
Because Christ became man, we have many additional sources of grace to assist us to be witnesses, including: The Church, The Sacraments, Mary the Mother of the Church, Prayer and the Scriptures! But first we must be very aware of our mission to be witnesses to Christ!
John’s mission was to be a witness before Christ! Our mission is to be a witness after Christ!
Not a person who believes in Christ (even sinners do that) but one who lives as Christ lived!