Testimony that is at once humble and courageous
Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the light that enlightens everyone. Christians prove themselves through the humble and courageous testimony they give in his behalf.
This time, we have a portrait of John the Baptist giving a deposition in a court trial. That is because he gives a testimony in Jesus’ behalf, which indicates that the on trial is Jesus.
But his being a mere witness does not save John from the inquisitors. Every witness, after all, becomes a subject of examination and cross-examination. So, then, Jesus’ witness answers the investigators’ questions and objections.
And John answers honestly. But that is not enough for him. For at the end the one who gives testimony to Jesus becomes an accuser. He tells his interrogators, “There is one among you whom you do not know.”
In other words, the Baptist accuses those who are supposedly wise and learned of not knowing Jesus Christ. And considering what Dt 25, 9 and Ruth 4, 7 say about sandals, we discover another meaning. Saying he is not worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals, John, in effect, affirms that Jesus has not breached the law. He indicates, moreover, that Jesus is the one who has the right.
Jesus’ followers prove themselves through the humble and courageous testimony they give in his behalf.
Nowadays, too, Jesus remains on trial. And he counts on his followers to give testimony in his behalf, which implies, of course, knowledge of Jesus.
Jesus’ true witnesses know him intimately, yes, and personally, and not only from what they hear about him. Their hearts burn within them as he speaks to them through the Scriptures. They see him with their own eyes at the breaking of the bread. Breathing Jesus Christ in and out, they urge others in the manner of St. Vincent de Paul (SV.EN I:276):
Remember that we live in Jesus Christ through the death of Jesus Christ, and we must die in Jesus Christ through the life of Jesus Christ, and our life must be hidden in Jesus Christ and filled with Jesus Christ, and in order to die as Jesus Christ, we must live as Jesus Christ.
Those whom the Spirit of truth teaches and guides explain also to someone despairing the reason for their joyful hope. In that way, they give the testimony that the incarnate Word dwells among them. They disregard, then, the one who mockingly asks them daily in hard times, “Where is your God?” Furthermore, they give courageous testimony to the enlightening truth before leaders who undermine democratic institutions with their curses, lies and threats.
And they know Jesus as the Evangelizer of the poor. So, they charge with injustice and lack of knowledge, politicians who are subservient to the rich but indifferent to the poor.
Lord Jesus, make us give humble and courageous testimony to you, so that others may believe.
17 December 2017
Third Sunday of Advent (B)
Is 61, 1-2a. 10-11; 1 Thes 5, 16-27; Jn 1, 6-8. 19-21