3rd Sunday in Advent
The Gospel scene for this 3rd Sunday in Advent is located in Bethany; a small village on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem. Our new Diocesan building in Parramatta has been given this name in recognition of the importance of this place in the mission of Jesus and his precursor, John the Baptist. The fact that St. John the Gospel writer, specifically names the place where John the Baptist proclaims the coming of Jesus, stresses the importance of what happened in this place which exemplified the Christian way of being in mission.
John the Baptist essentially identifies himself by saying what he is not. This serves to dispel any false claims that were being made about him. He is not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet, but simply a “voice” making straight the way for the Lord already present but unrecognised.
In our media saturated public world today, there is an increasing cultivation of those with magnetic personalities; the ones who draw people to themselves; who develop cult-like followings. Today’s Gospel confirms that this natural movement of the human heart was radically resisted by John the Baptist.
John’s insistence that he was the one who prepared the way, defines our role in the mission of Jesus. So as we come and go from the Diocesan Bethany Centre, out into our school and parish communities, let us be constantly renewed and reminded that the core of our mission is to witness to Jesus; to awaken others to the presence of God, the Divine One in our midst.
1. Why is John the Baptist who lived 2,000 years ago, still an important role model for us as a way of being in mission today?
2. Can you recall times in your life when like John you have had to let go and step back; to let someone else take a project or an event to its next stage. What feelings surrounded this letting go?