Year B: Year of Mark
Third Sunday in Advent
Gospel: John 1: 6-8,19-28
We leave Mark’s Gospel for a few weeks - and this week, use John as our Advent evangelist.
In many ways, the Gospel echoes the Gospel of last week. John the Baptist declares himself to be the voice crying in the wilderness, the one sent by God to make the way straight for the one who is to come.
Even before Jesus has appeared, questions are being asked and doubts raised about the proclamation that the promised one is to come. The questions addressed to John foreshadow the questions that will haunt Jesus’ public ministry - Who are you? Why do you do this? In effect - who gave you the authority?
John makes it clear that he is only the messenger - he is not the message; he is a witness to the light - but he is not the light.
He tells those who are questioning him that the message - the very Word of God - and the light - the Light of the World - is, in fact among them already. They do not know Him - but He is present.
This failure to recognise the Presence of the Word and the Light was to persist throughout Jesus ministry. It prevented people from seeing that He was from God. It prevented them from understanding His parables and teachings. It prevented them from being able to receive His life for the gift it was.
Already in this early part of the Gospel, the misunderstandings and blindness which were to lead ultimately to the Passion and Cross are manifest. God was walking among His people - but His people - His beloved Chosen People - could not receive Him.
The same problem besets the world today. The Word of God is still proclaimed but many people do not hear its message. Good confronts the forces of evil - and overcomes it - but people often see only the darkness - and dare not believe in the power of the light.
People do great things in the name of God - but the world cannot receive them for what they are. They question and challenge and seek easy answers - which simply are not there.
There are no easy answers for us to offer. Like John, we can only witness to the light - and trust God to do the rest.
What does it mean for me?
When have you been confronted about your witness to Jesus?
How did you respond?© 2008 Wellspring