The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
December 13, 2020 – Third Sunday of Advent - John 1:6-8, 19-28
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In my earlier years, I was a fan of a number of singing groups. Some of them featured folk music and sometimes they entertained sing-along audiences at crazy concerts called “hootenannies.” Full disclosure, I was a member of one of the least known of those groups. In fact, we were so unknown that we didn’t’ even have a name.
As I read today’s gospel, I was reminded of two of the more accomplished groups who were called “the Searchers” and “the Seekers.” I thought of them because today’s gospel is about searching and seeking. Specifically, the one being sought is the Messiah. Hopes for his arrival among the Jewish people were high back around Zero B.C.E..
We pick up that history when attention was focused for a time on a rather bizarre religious person who had set up shop along the River Jordan. He called people to repent their wicked ways. He submerged them in the river water. The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent scouts to find out who this fellow baptizing by the Jordan River really was. During that time, what’s sometimes called “messianic fever,” was high. Perhaps it was John.
We know John’s response. No, it’s not me but (that’s an important word here) it is someone else who has already arrived. He is the true Messiah who will proclaim the truth about God, about all creation, and about all of us. Next to him, John adds, I am nothing.
So, keep searching and seeking. Yes, the Messiah has come but, in a sense, he is still coming. To each of us. During the holy season of Advent, we are reminded to continue our explorations. Yes, most of us have encountered Jesus. Perhaps often. But there’s always more to experience of his love and attention in future encounters.
Like all interpersonal relationships, the task of deepening them is always ahead of us. Like all living things, they require nourishment and enrichment. More is better than less. As Jesus ended his physical sojourn with us, he said that he would be with us until the end of time. That includes today and tomorrow and the next day.
In this season of Advent, we are challenged to search and seek Christ where he is. Among us! In those close to us and in those distant from us. And a good place to begin our search (although often overlooked) is in ourselves. Imagine that!
©David M. Thomas, PhD