To provide a reference for someone is a serious responsibility as well as a privilege because, more often than not, a good deal depends on the testimony one provides. John the Baptist took it upon himself to be a referee for Jesus. His testimony reverberates across the centuries, offering an introduction to Jesus, year in year out, for those who seek to understand this Jewish prophet and teacher who was and is more than a prophet or teacher.
John wants his disciples to understand that the whole purpose of his water baptism is that Jesus “might be revealed” to God’s people. He wants them to know that Jesus is “of God”. He is the “lamb of God”, the “chosen one of God”. He is the one on whom God’s Spirit descends and remains. Jesus comes before the Baptist and so ranks before him.
There is never a simple explanation when it comes to John’s gospel, but it seems to me that the symbol of strength in vulnerability has potential for understanding the characterization of Jesus in this gospel. The Lamb of God of John 1:29 “takes away” the sinful condition of the world. Twenty-one centuries down the track there is still violence and hunger and exploitation on a massive scale. The work of the one strong enough to risk vulnerability so that others may have life, the work of God’s Lamb, is never done. Witness to that is part of the gift that Pope Francis is offering to the world: despite opposition, even among those closest to him, he never wavers in his response to the distress of God’s people, of God’s Earth.

Excerpt from Sister Veronica Lawson, rsm,

Download Parish Newsletter 15th January 2017