Sunday, December 14, 2008


3rd Sunday of Advent

"This was the testimony of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?"...
(Jn 1:19-27)
A popular fictional anecdote is told as to when the Pope once decided to switch places with his driver. The driver reluctantly agreed as the Pope had a little fun driving around the Vatican, with the driver taking the passenger seat for a change. The Pope soon breached the speed limit unknowingly, and in a little while a Vatican police patrol flagged down the vehicle for overspeeding. The cop, needless to say, was greatly surprised when he saw the occupants of the overspeeding vehicle, and so he decided to call and consult his chief. 

Cop: Chief, I have a problem. I pulled over this very important person.
Chief: Just give him a speeding ticket! I don't care even if he is as important as the mayor, governor, senator, whatever.
Cop: Well, you see, he's more important than those people.
Chief: More important??
Cop: I don't know, but he's got the Pope driving for him!
..when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?", John recognized the truth and did not deny it. He said, "I am not the Messiah"...

John the Baptist did not deny who he was, he was clear on his role and identity.

And they asked him, “Then who are you?" Elijah?”
And he answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, "Tell us who you are, so that we can give some answer to those who sent us. How do you see yourself?"
And John said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord,’”...

The authorities were wondering who was this person that on his own initiative has begun to preach? The Messiah is the name the Jews gave to the expected Savior. They also expected the Prophet, but it was not clear whether or not the Prophet would be someone other that the Messiah. It was then believed that the the prophet Elijah would reappear before the Messiah's arrival. It was John who awakens the expectation of the Savior, but the Jews were confused with mistaken identities. At these times, it is easy for us to say that the saviour was Jesus, but in those days, they who were hearing John found it difficult to imagine what this savior might be.

Today we are called to a commitment in preparing for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, in making straight His paths. We cannot do that without identifying with Jesus Christ and seeing Him in one another. We must see Him in the poor, the prisoner, the sick, the driver, the policeman, and in each end every one around us. In this 3rd Sunday of advent, we are reminded not to mistake our identity and the identity of our neighbors. Otherwise, we may not recognize Him when He comes.


cross-posted at CatholicFriends

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