WORD of the DAY
Jesus said to the Jews:
“You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept testimony from a human being,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
John was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.” (John 5, 33-36)
John again appears in today’s Gospel. In a passage of bitter polemics with His Jewish adversaries, Jesus defines the Baptist with two strokes of light.
- Above all, he briefly affirms that: “John gave witness to the Truth”. In the fourth Gospel, the term ‘Truth’ often describes Jesus and in that Gospel Jesus says of Himself in 14: 6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Jesus sees the Precursor as the one who knew to witness to the Messiah with his life.
- Secondly, by defining John as a creature of light, like “a burning and shining lamp”, Jesus shows that even if the light radiated by the Precursor was not his but was only a shining lamp, his adversaries were content to rejoice in this light for a while. Jesus then declares openly that “But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” The Father did not entrust His works to the Son as a simple executor, but because they would be His works as well.
In this Advent season, we also want to be illumined by the resplendent light of the Precursor to go to meet the Lord, “the true light that illumines every person” (John 1: 9). During this journey to Him, let us be guided by the commanding invitation of the Precursor, seeking in a brief exam of conscience to see what there is in us that must diminish so that Jesus alone may grow.
The Voice of the Precursor
Christ must grow; I must diminish. (John 3: 30)