January 4, Friday in Christmas Time
John the Baptist
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them,”Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). Jn 1,35-42
Often we travel to go to meet a person, driven by an important reason. While getting closer to the time and to the place of the meeting, we are increasingly requiring information and confirmation on the way to go. Even the history of the salvation, in the Old Testament, can be thought as a man who at the beginning was put on the road with Abraham and, obtaining information from the people who have succeeded him in the time, arrived up to Jesus. Some would have given very general information, but two of them would have been of an absolute accuracy: Isaiah, the herald of the future Messiah, and John the Baptist, the herald of the present Messiah. In the today’s gospel the Baptist says to John and Andrew, the two disciples who were with him, that the person of Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah awaited by the humanity since the first call of Abraham. Those two disciples, who detached themselves from John the Baptist to follow Jesus, represent the whole humanity which surrenders to him. In this “handover” the greatness and humility of John the Baptist shine. He does not go with his disciples, his mission is accomplished, he must decrease, because Jesus has to grow. This is what every preacher of the gospel has to do, even today: only the direction in which to indicate the savior of the world changes. For Isaiah to proclaim the Messiah was equivalent to indicate the future and for the Baptist the present; for us it means to turn to that past, to make it present and to bring it to the only future which is worth to live . We must indicate the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who lived two thousand years ago, died on the cross on the mount Calvary and resurrected from the dead. The direction to indicate is different, but the attitude to announce and to withdraw us into the silence is valid also for today. The strategy to indicate, to teach and to keep aside also applies to the parents, the teachers and the spiritual leaders, although not always being easy. The temptation, in fact, is to stay present, perhaps to reap the rewards of the service.