St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Isaiah 45:6-8,18,21-25 + Luke 7:18-23
December 14, 2016
“‘…should we look for another?’”
The Season of Advent is full of dichotomies. We wait in darkness for the dawn of a great light. We wait for the deaf to hear and the lame to leap. We reflect on the Old Covenant of God’s Chosen People as we await a birth that will give rise to a Church founded on a “new and everlasting covenant”.
Yet another dichotomy is between two persons: John the Baptist and his cousin Jesus. This dichotomy is presented most sharply by John, when he insists that Jesus must increase while he himself must decrease. There are other contrasts between them noted in the Gospel account, such as that John’s disciples fasted, while Jesus’ did not. This contrast is related to the images of a best man (John) and the bridegroom (Jesus).
Today’s Gospel passage focuses on John and Jesus through the lens of a question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Some modern thinkers have foolishly suggested that John wanted his disciples to ask this question because he himself did not know the answer. John is the voice who announces the Word, and John this Word intimately. Had John not known exactly who this Word was, he would never have made all the sacrifices—including his life—that he did in order to give witness to this Word.
Jesus is the One who is to come. We should not look for another. Having imitated the penance of the voice, we will be ready to give testimony to the Word.