REFLECTION | Third Sunday of Advent: ‘I am not the Messiah’

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Today marks the third Sunday of Advent, December 17, 2017. Reflection file photo.

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John.

When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priest and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.”

So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?”

He answered, “No.”

So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself? “

He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

Some pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?”

John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”

This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
—John 1:6-8, 19-28

It’s now the third Sunday of Advent. In the Philippines, the dawn novena masses also began this week. The gospel reading reaffirms John the Baptist’s role in the salvation history. He was sent by God for His people and with a special task of preparing the people to see the light.

The light mentioned in our gospel reading refers to the savior who is to come and who symbolizes not only hope but salvation for all. John was not the light but he came to testify that the light is coming, Jesus the son of God who is sent by the Father so all may be saved.

It was very clear to John that he was not the messiah; he was tasked to announce that the messiah is about to come, he was tasked to remind the people of the promised salvation for all. John was tasked to proclaim the light in a land that was full of suffering, misery, injustice and infidelity. That is why the Jews asked him who he was for they themselves were waiting for signs. John admitted that he was the one prophesied by Isaiah in the scriptures. John is not Elijah or any other prophet but the voice in the wilderness and the people recognize him.

John was the voice in the wilderness calling to make straight the way of the Lord and he was sent by God to testify to the light. John did not pretend nor acted to be the savior, In fact he even made it clear that the “one” who is to come is so great that he was not even worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. And John likewise warned his audience that they will have difficulty of recognizing him unless they change their lives.

John called for repentance and change their old lifestyles and ways for the better. To repent is to accept one’s sinfulness and be willing to amend and change one’s life. John also baptized by water those who wished to follow the Lord so they become ready with the “One” who is to come. If we hear the voice of John today, if he were alive today, shall we listen to him?

Jesus is the highlight of the whole story of God’s love, when he allowed his only son to become man like the rest of us, except have sin. Do we see Jesus as the light of our lives? Do we receive Jesus in our hearts and allow Him to shed light in our lives?

As an individual person, do I give hope to the discouraged and downtrodden? Do I share the love of Christ for all with those who are the last, the least, and the lost? Do I give them inspiration and show them the joy and the will of living even if we suffer pain and despair? When we live in the light of Christ, we become lights to others. When we also testify for Christ through our lives and deeds, we share the light of Christ with others. As the Father shares His only son for our salvation, we also share that light of salvation with others.

Let us pray, reflect and as ourselves:

Have I accepted Jesus as my light, my salvation, and God?

Is Christ really the light of my life?

Like John, do I testify that Christ is the Son of the living God?

As a baptized, do I give witness my Christian faith through my daily living and relationships with others?

Have I become a light to my neighbor? Have I become a light to the world?

How is my personal preparation in this second week of Advent? As a family/ community, what do we do in our observance of Advent?

Am I ready to face my savior and untie the strap of his sandals?

Prayer
Almighty and Loving Father, thank you for sending John to be your precursor for he was a messenger of hope. Thank you for giving us Jesus as our light and salvation in this time of darkness and confusion. May we follow the way John the Baptist’s was referring, the straight path to God. May the light of Christ purify us so that we can also share the light of Christ with or brothers and sisters especially those who live in fear, anxiety, uncertainty and unpeace. This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Intention
Let us pray for all those who are living in fear, anxiety and “unpeace,” those whose hearts are troubled and broken, may the Lord through His loving and consoling touch make them strengthened and enlightened and they may realized that Jesus who is the light and salvation of the world is always here with us and for us.