Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 192. Fri of 3rd week of Advent. Isaiah 56: 1-3.6-8.
Psalm 57:2-3.5.7-8. John 5:33-36:
Today's Gospel from the Fourth Evangelist sends us back to his prologue
which gives us the call and role of John the Baptist. This week has
emphasized John as our guide for Advent reflection and it is mostly based
upon what Jesus is telling us about John the Baptist and his call to
renewal and repentance. In this mystic Gospel John's role is clearly
depicted as one of a witness (martyros in Greek). His total witness is to
the one who is coming after him and who ranks ahead of him. The Evangelist
tells us this in the sixth line of his Gospel:"There was a man sent from
God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so
that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he
came to testify to the light." Verse 15 also tells us this:" This was he of
whom I said,"He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before
me." These lines are the only ones in the Prologue that are not centered on
the Word of God that was made flesh. They are more prose than the rest of
the lines which are poetic. The hymn serves as a grand overture for the
whole Gospel and helps us each time we read it to understand the rest of
the Gospel. It used to be said at the end of each Mass before Vatican II.
John the Baptist has together with the prophet Isaiah led us through their
words and through the Scriptures themselves; now we will be turning to a
more familiar person who will lead us to the very birth of Christ and that
is Mary of Nazareth, the one who is pregnant with the Word of God that is
her flesh and blood--totally human because and only because of her. Both
are there to help us deepen our faith in the person of Jesus the one who is
to come. This belief will be developed as the story of Jesus continues in
the Infancy Gospels of Matthew and Luke as we will see in the coming days
before and after Christmas.
Our turning for today to the Gospel of John allows us to see the one who is
to come in a new way, namely, as the Word of God and as the Revealer of God
through his words and actions. Mary becomes part of the mystery of God's
loving kindness in the plan of salvation in the all important verse
fourteen: "And the Word was made flesh(Mary's flesh and blood) and lived
among us, and we have seen his glory as of a father's only son, full of
grace and truth." Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
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