SATURDAY BEFORE EPIPHANY JANUARY 2, 2021
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 1:19-28
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 Christ.” 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,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ 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.
“What do you have to say for yourself?”
Happy New Year to you all. We have now turned to a new chapter in our lives, it is called 2021. It is easy to have a variety of emotions and feelings about this new year in hopes for normalcy to return in our daily lives. Last year’s motto seemed to be ‘expect the unexpected’. God will always allow us to experience the unexpected. If you were living 2000 years ago, you would have witnessed just that, the unexpected.
St. John’s and Jesus’ births were both from unexpected situations. Their lifestyles were unexpected. St. John was like a homeless man living with no means to survive. No one expected St. John the Baptist to be a voice crying out to tell others about God’s coming. Jesus was a king living in a poor working family. His unexpected message changed the relationship of worshiping God.
If St. John came as people expected, John may have been forgotten after time. However, the Holy Spirit was with St. John and people were drawn to him. This unexpected voice prepared us for the coming of Jesus. Jesus was expected to come as a king, where only the elite would have been notified of His good news. How would the poor working class learn of and believe in their salvation through the Gospel?
We have a different path than St John the Baptist, but the unexpected is exactly what God has for us. Let us look deeper into the unexpected paths God has set before us this year. So, when we are asked, “What do you have to say for yourself?”, we can answer without hesitation and with humility as did John the Baptist.