Is 61: 1-2. 10-11
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted ,to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives,release to the prisoners, To announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God; I will rejoice heartily in the LORD, my being exults in my God; For he has clothed me with garments of salvation,and wrapped me in a robe of justice, Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. As the earth brings forth its shoots,and a garden makes its seeds spring up, So will the Lord GOD make justice spring up, and praise before all the nations.
1 Thes 5: 16-24
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.
Jn 1: 6-8. 19-28
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites [to him] to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert,“Make straight the way of the Lord” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
A young teenage girl grew up in a Catholic family with parents who were coherent in their Christian life. She grew up breathing the values lived at home. At the University where she studied she met a boy who was taking a doctorate in Psychology. He did not only believe what he studied regarding the insights on the human being, he also lived them and related with people, especially women, accordingly. Every fling he had with a girl always ended up going home run with her; and he had many. He got attracted to this girl of our story and tried to seek her out. She agreed to eat out with him one lunch time. After a series of three meetings, he made advances to her and expressed his desire to go to bed with her. She blocked the advances and refused to go to bed with him. Surprised, the boy asked her: “Where do you come from, the moon? Everybody does this.”She answered: “If all the women you went out with agreed to go to bed with you, I will be the first one to refuse you;” then she left him abruptly in the restaurant without saying another word.
That night, he was so disturbed because what the girl did prove to him that what he studied were wrong. He could not sleep. But despite what the girl did to him, he felt there was something in her that attracted him –something not physical but a kind of aura in her. Anyway, when he dared to approach her again, she was still welcoming and behaved as if nothing happened. He asked forgiveness for what he did and he wanted that they continue their acquaintance. Seeing each other constantly, he learned about the girl’s convictions; she wanted to be consistent and coherent in her Christian faith. She explained to him her Christian convictions regarding sex and sexuality. He discovered that this is what attracted him to her; the sense of purity and sacredness in her that he did not want to tarnish. He did not want to destroy the pristine beauty in her by the dirt that he was mired in. As days turned to weeks and to months, he started to see the beauty of her stance towards life. “I slowly began to believe and live what she believed in. It gave me a better sense of life and a certain serenity and peace that I would not exchange for anything. I discovered this is what attracted me to her.” After two years of seeing each other; he asked the girl whether she knew a priest to whom he could talk to and perhaps go to confession because the last time he did was during his first communion. Now, together with her, he receives communion every Sunday. The changes he had to make in his life were not easy; but he gladly did it. The difficulties he encountered are nothing compared to the peace and serenity in life he now enjoys. Seven years after their first encounter, they got married and now they have three beautiful kids.
How is this story related to the Gospel of today? If we try to sincerely live the values of our Christian vocation on a day to day basis, this way of life will always become a sign of contradiction in a world that proclaims values that are diametrically opposed to ours. Christian life will necessarily stand out, to be either rejected, criticized, or to pose as a challenge to the way other people live. In this way, we become John the Baptizer of today’s age who prepares the way of the Lord’s coming.
God who has come at Christmas time, wants to come also into the lives of people. For people to be sensitive to the coming of God they must be prepared, they must be made aware that indeed he has come and has brought meaning and a sense of purpose to our lives. And God can do this through our instrumentality, through us who do not only believe in the Gospel values but who live them in every day life. This is the challenge of our Christian vocation to be John the Baptists of our century to prepare the coming of the Lord in the lives of our contemporaries, by the way we live our life.
– Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD (CKMS)