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.
By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Years ago I waited in line at a gathering of Catholic journalists to greet the then-Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. Since he had ordained me to the priesthood some years before, I thought that my nametag and association with St. Anthony Messenger magazine would ring a bell. And I wasn’t disappointed; in fact the cardinal asked me to take a message to my editor, Father Norman, who was elsewhere in the large crowd. I made my way back through the room and found him. With as much drama as I could muster I declared, “Norm, how often do I get to say this: The cardinal wants to see you!”
Today’s Advent readings offer us the opportunity to step into the shoes—or perhaps sandals—of God’s own messengers. The speaker in the First Reading has been anointed with God’s spirit, and sent to bring a message of joy, healing and freedom to people in great need. John the Baptist is singled out in the Gospel as the one who testified to the light which was coming into a sin-shrouded world. When questioned about his mission, he makes it clear that he’s not the one promised, nor is he one of the ancient prophets returned: Rather John points the way to Jesus, whom the world might not otherwise recognize.
Are you ready to carry a message of hope home from Sunday Mass today? At the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit unites us as the Body of Christ. With the Spirit’s help we can take a message of joy and hope in Jesus Christ to a world that needs to hear it.
By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Is 61:1-2a, 10-11), Isaiah says that the “spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me…”
Why was Isaiah so special? What was he sent to do?
What will the Lord do that makes Isaiah so happy? (See the last two lines of the reading.)
What does St. Paul tell the people of Thessalonika in the second reading (1 Thess 5:16-24)?
What is Paul’s wish that God of peace will do?
In the Gospel, how did John the Baptizer describe himself?
Did John say he was a prophet?
Where was John baptizing?
Sit by a wall and have someone trace your silhouette. Do it for everyone in your family and then put them on display.
Go online and find some activities that play with light, such as making suncatchers to hang in a window.
If you have Christmas lights or a lighted Christmas tree, sit in the dark with just those lights on. Or for a more dramatic light display, walk or drive around your neighborhood to see people’s outside decorations.