Friday of the Third Week of Advent
The faith burns and is shining
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Jn 5,33-36
John the Baptist was the last prophet of the Old Testament and at the same time the first follower of Jesus Christ, although preceding him. “He was a burning and shining lamp”. The warmth and the beauty of the faith are the characteristics which make a man like a lamp which allows to see Christ in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Such characteristics illuminate the minds and warm the hearts of those who adhere to the truth of the gospel. The disciples of Emmaus had knowledge of the events in Jerusalem, but they did not believe in the resurrection: “Some women … announced that he was alive” (Lk 24,22-23). Only after Jesus approached them and told them what they already knew, they believed: “Were not our hearts burning ( within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Lk 24, 32). Then the two disciples became witnesses of the resurrection and they returned to Jerusalem to explain to the others what really happened. The witness proclaims the gospel so that the men can be saved, but it is the Lord who gives strength, direction and meaning to his words. Christ is crediting John the Baptist, not vice versa: “I do not receive testimony from a man”. Only the Father testifies the divinity of the Son, making him performing his works: “The works that the Fathergave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me”. Also today the works – the miracles and the way of life – make the missionary credible. It is Jesus who has promised it: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature … But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs” (Mk 16,15.20). It happens even today when a man is the witness of the gospel. It is necessary only to look carefully enough to be able to recognize the signs of the presence of the Lord.