“Who Am I?”
Advent B-3

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

The Gospel Reading today continues to talk to us about John the Baptist, as it did last Sunday. It says that a man named John suddenly appeared among the Jews. He was sent by God to announce the arrival of the Messiah that the people had been awaiting for various centuries. John was the last prophet of the Bible. He announced, with courage and a loud voice, “Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight his paths.”

…fearless in their faith and humble in their ministry…

Other prophets, such as Isaiah, had revealed John as, “A voice that cries out in the desert.” With integrity John preached about the Messiah that would come after him. He spoke out loudly, without hiding and without fear. People came to hear Him from Jerusalem, Judea and the surrounding areas. He urged those who heard his preaching to conversion and baptism as a sign of their repentance.

John’s honesty, humility and faithfulness are qualities that we should all emulate. He did not consider himself to be worthy of any praise. His only mission was to make known the Messiah who was about to arrive. He understood well, as many Christians have today, that what is truly important is to speak clearly and courageously when we defend Christ, our faith and our Church.

This prophet had the great privilege of being decapitated precisely because he preached against sin. He was a missionary who knew how to carry out his mission with dignity. Many came to know Jesus because of the preaching and the dedication of this great prophet. Even some of the disciples who later followed Jesus had once been John’s disciples. And many of the Jews who heard his preaching repented of their sins and followed Christ. He preached the Good News of the coming of Jesus of the arrival of John.

Many wondered if John was the awaited Messiah. That is why they sent, from Jerusalem, priests and Levites to ask him: “Who are you?” Here John shows us his humility and his little desire to shine out. He answered, “I am not the Messiah.” They insisted, “Tell us who you are so we can give an answer to those who have sent us.” He answered, “I am the voice who cries out in the desert.” And that is all that He would say about himself. Many people today would do well to imitate this prophet of whom Christ himself spoke wondrously!

The mission of a good Christian is to be a prophet and announce the Gospel with the same valor, resolution, and integrity that John had. We need many more Christians like him: fearless in their faith and humble in their ministry, who know how to stand up for what is right while standing in the shadows and allowing God to be the one who shines forth.

John, in his preaching, urged people to straighten the way of the Lord, to do away with everything that can cause sin to take root in their lives. This Advent season let us take time to take stock of our lives, to repent, and to reencounter the Messiah who came to save us.