2nd January before the Epiphany le 2 janvier avant l’Epiphanie

“Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us.What have you to say about yourself?”
Tuesday 24 November 2015

1 Jn. 2,22-28 Ps.97 Jn.1,19-28

2nd January before the Epiphany

“This was the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him : ’Who are you?’ He declared, he did not deny but declared ’I am not the Christ.’ So they asked,’ Then are you Elijah?’ he replied ’I am not.’ Are you the Prophet? He answered ’No’. I baptise with water ; but standing among you –unknown to you- is the one who is coming after me ; and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandal.”

After a few days following Christmas, we read the witness of John the Baptist according to Saint John, . Before this is the Prologue where we read : ’ The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.’

What is announced in the prologue is manifested in the Gospel for the Mystery of the Incarnate Word is the Mystery of man’s Salvation. In the dialogue where we see the priests and Levites face to face, John the Baptist shows himself to be very modest concerning himself. He is neither Elijah, nor the prophet. He is a humble man, who refuses to desire anything for himself. Even less so does he wish to usurp a place for himself , one that would not be desired by God. He is unworthy to untie the sandal of the One coming after Him. He knows this and in advance he places all his Will in Lord’s whose servant he proclaims to be. John the Baptist knew Elijah, taken up with a jealous ardour for his God. John the Baptist’s response is astonishingly clear, given in all humility and gentleness.

“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 he said, ’ I am, as Isaiah prophesised : ’A voice that cries in the desert : prepare a way for the Lord; make his path straight!’ Now, those who had been sent were Pharisees.”

The Mystery of Salvation on Christ Jesus is always accompanied by a testimony. Jesus is the ’Amen, the faithful and genuine testimony.’ He is the one who bears witness, by his mission and by his way of seeing things as a prophet. When the fidelity of his mission demands it, John the Baptist is audacious and absolute. His role is to speak, he is a voice serving the Lord who

is to come. He obeys God and will be faithful to Him right to the end. The messengers from Jerusalem did not understand the Voice of John the Baptist. They did not receive the message from the Holy Sprit. John the Baptist knows he had gone unheard, yet, despite this, he will go on with his mission. Tomorrow, he will point to ’the Lamb of God’. The Holy Spirit who visited him in his mother’s womb had him discover the Mystery of Jesus : ’There is someone in your midst whom you do not know.’ Jesu ’printed’ his face upon him, having him be at the ’diapason’ of his Being, so as to recognise him. From the outside, we can’t take grasp him! The one who listens according to the Holy Spirit will understand him. Jesus is going to say that John the Baptist is the greatest of all the Prophets.

“The priests and the Levites put this question to him, ’Why are you not baptising if you are not the Christ ,and not Elijah, and not the Prophet?’ John answered them, ’ I baptise with water ; but standing among you-unknown to you- is the one who is coming after me.”

John the Baptist is this voice announcing Jesus right up to martyrdom. When his mission has come to an end, he can point to the One He came to announce as the Lamb bearing the sins of the world. This is precisely the support he brings to us today when we announce Jesus who is coming. We have just one concern : to see our brothers following Jesus. John the Baptist’s testimony has become our own. We are a people of priests, prophets and kings. We learn from John the Baptist how to bear witness. We go on with our mission out of our life spent with Christ. The Church, as well as all her members, bear this witness that we spread throughout the whole world. It is Jesus Christ Himself who is the ’Good News.’ Our way is to be this ’Voice’ of Love, the Intonation of the Holy Spirit who ’uses’ what we are, to bear witness to the Mystery of God. Through Baptism we have become children of God, in the Mystery of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. A renewed creature, saved by Jesus, moved by the Holy Spirit, we continue God’s work and we dwell in the Love of Jesus who has overcome death. Eternal Life has already begun, the Infinite Love of God has been spread into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has bene given to us.

We ask for the grace to be instructed in the Unction of the Holy Sprit.