Reflections on the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent -- John 1:68-19-28
When he appeared in the desert, drawing enthusiastic crowds and preaching about repentance and forgiveness, John the Baptist’s questioners demanded to know the source of his authority: “What do you have to say for yourself?” If we profess to be Christians, people who know us may rightly ask us the same questions. “Where do you get off claiming that God loves you and faithfully cares for you and your family?”
People may wonder, “What makes you so sure that the values you claim are the best way to live? Are you really saying that marriage is a pathway to holiness and that love can last a lifetime? Haven’t you seen the statistics? Are you saying there is something wrong with my decision to disregard the morality that the Church teaches?” If we are living our faith, it may confound observers. Yes, we will face some serious scrutiny if we say that we are followers of Jesus. But, like John the Baptist, we cannot testify otherwise. And like John, others may be attracted, too. In Christ, we have found the pathway to a life of grace and the way we want to lead our families. This Advent, we give thanks for the gift of faith.
May those who know us encounter Jesus, as in the prayer of Cardinal John Henry Newman:
Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go;
Flood my soul with your spirit and life;
Penetrate and possess my whole being so completely
That all my life may be only a radiance of yours;
Shine through me and be so in me
That everyone with whom I come into contact
May feel your presence within me.
Let them look up and see no longer me—but only Jesus.