Weekly Missionary Reflection
Sunday, 13 December 2020
3rd Week of Advent
Isa. 61:1-2a,10-11; PS Luk. 1:46-48,49-50,53-54; 1Tes. 5:16-24; John 1:6-8,19-28
Last week we talked about John the Baptist, today about John the Witness. This is the same person, but with different emphasis. The three Synoptic Gospels emphasize his mission to baptize people. The Gospel of John focuses more on the purpose: to bear witness about Jesus, the Light. His name is only called John (v. 9), without the title of Baptist.
It is not easy to talk about “witness” in our world. Today’s witness can be easily bought, easily become a means for transaction. False witnesses and testimonies can imprison honest people who do not corrupt. Therefore, it is approriate to reflect on the quality of John as a true witness of Christ. First, being a witness is a mission or a calling from God. John is a witness “who is sent by God” (v. 6). His mission “comes from Heaven” (cf. Mrk. 11:30). Today he is presented with the delegates of the Religious Court. Two different “missionary” qualities. One conveys the message of God, the other conveys the message of the scholars. John works on calling, the other works by order. Advent makes us realize the root of our calling as Christ’s witness: God Himself sends us. We bear witness not for other motivation, but as a calling, not an obligation nor compulsory.
Second, John bears witness “on the light” (v. 7). He shares the witness about Jesus who is the Light to the world. It is specifically emphasized that he himself is not that light, but he is sent to bear witness of that Light (v. 8). John himself affirms that he is not the Messiah, not Elijah, nor a prophet (vv. 20-21). He is only the “voice” proclaiming the Light (v. 23). It could be that during those days there are groups who consider John as the Messiah. Anyway, this verse wants to emphasize that John’s witness is only about Jesus Christ, the Light, and nothing else. It is a very relevant emphasis. It is easy to turn witness into showing off self spiritual achievement. It is easy to replace “Christ” into “I” in the witness, not for Jesus but for money.
Third, the purpose of John’s witness is clear: “that through him all may believe” (v. 7b). It is so easy to draw the audiences’ attention towards the preacher, not to God. It is very easy for the preaching and reflection –included this one- to lead the listeners to personal thoughts and opinions, not to faith in Christ. Bible sharing, which is supposed to be the chance for sharing and confirming the experiences of faith, is easily turned into a a moment of showing off the capability in interpreting and composing holy verses.
Fourth, John’s witness is lasting and firm: he keeps on calling people to make straight the way of God (v. 23). Witness to Christ means being courageous and constantly telling the truth. John has to deal with official authorities who are skeptical and and fear of losing their jobs. True witnesses of Christ are absolutely suspected and investigated, hated and told to stop. However, like John, they must continue to bear witness: for He has come into this dark world that still looking for the true Light.
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
The life of prayer: May our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be enriched by the word of God and life of prayer. We pray …
For Indonesian Churches intention:
Be cautious of consumerism: May Catholic families be encouraged to limiting their consumption to the needed things indeed in order to be willing to share part of their properties to those who are more in need. We pray …
We join ourselves with the Holy Family of Nazareth to achieve the justice with The Friend, Jesus Christ, our Lord. We pray …