16 and 17 December 2017 Third Sunday of Advent B Homily
Isaiah 6:1-2, 10-11
Psalm Lk 1
First Thessalonians 5:16-24
My sisters and brothers in Christ.
John the Baptizer is a puzzling figure.
We are told in the Gospel that “Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and
Levites” to John.
The authorities in Jerusalem puzzled over who this
what he was to do,
what he thought of himself.
John, we know, “was sent from God.” The authorities wondered about
what kind of trouble maker John might be.
John came to “testify to the light , so that all (including the Jews) might
believe through him (John)”.
The Gospel and John himself are very clear about “what” and “who”
John “is not.”
“He (John) was not the light but came to testify to the light.”
We might, at this point, clarify who the “light” is.
The light is the “Christ”.
We will sing “Christ our light” at the Easter Vigil.
As we light the candles of the Advent wreath,
as we light the Easter Candle at funerals, Baptisms, Confirmations and
First Communions we are reminded that the “light has come into the
world” for us.
John’s mission it to help himself and others understand who the light is.
John explains who the light is by admitting, declaring or denying in answer to the questions about who he is, what he is up to, what his purpose is.
John admits: “I am not the Christ.”
John denies he is “Elijah”.
John denies he is “the Prophet.”
John is put on the spot. He is asked “What do you have to say for yourself?”
John’s answer is taken from the prophet Isaiah: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the desert make straight the way of the Lord’.”
Advent is a good time for us to ask what John was asked: “What do you have to say for yourself?”
Can I say: “I am not the light but I testify to the light”?
Can I say: “I am ‘making straight the way of the Lord’ in my own life”?
Can I say: “I am an instrument, (like John) that God uses so tha others may come to believe”?
John is a puzzling figure and he invites us to work out a fascinating puzzle.
Some pieces of the puzzle, putting the puzzle together may depend on how we answer the following questions:
“Can we recognize the “One”, the “Light”, “among” us who comes after John?”
“Can we recognize the Christ when he comes?”
“Can we make straight the way of the Lord?”