This was the testimony of John when the Jews sent priests and Levites to ask him, «Who are you?». John recognized the truth and did not deny it. He said, «I am not the Messiah». And they asked him, «Then who are you? Elijah?». He answered, «I am not». They said, «Are you the Prophet?». And he answered, «No». Then they said to him, «Tell us who you are, so that we can give some answer to those who sent us. How do you see yourself?». And John said, quoting the prophet Isaiah, «I am the voice crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord».
Those who had been sent were Pharisees; so they put a further question to John: «Then why are you baptizing if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?». John answered, «I baptize you with water, but among you stands one whom you do not know; although he comes after me, I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandal». This happened in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The Christian life is a witnessing life. We live in this world, but totally connected to the divine realities. In our own humanity, we try to express the divine elements. When people come closer to us, they should see in us, the divine work, the divine word and the divine presence. This witnessing life is the pure gift of baptism and from there we have the Faith, Faith in the divine goodness which removes all the ambivalence in our person life. It gives us the direction and orientation.
All baptisms are available today, the baptism of conversion and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of John the Baptist introduces us to the baptism of Jesus, because the baptism proposed by Jesus, without a conversion of heart, cannot change us. In order to better welcome it, we must have a pure heart and let the Holy Spirit transform us. This open-mindedness, the freedom of man belongs to all of us. The baptism of John the Baptist helps us to welcome the baptism of Jesus in freedom, in a dignified way and to remain in this baptism in a permanent way.
Today's Gospel confirms that the Author of this baptism is among us and we do not know him. He is with us, but by our behavior and our words, we distance ourselves from Him. As a baptized person, we must live in Him and through Him. To do so, we must ask ourselves this question, "Who are you? "Let us answer this question like John, in humility and sincerity. If we recognize that we are God's children, we must do everything so that we can live it fully. This life will be similar to that of John the Baptist, a life of grace, a life of witness.
Action of the day: Be aware that your life is a witnessing life.
«Among you stands one whom you do not know; although he comes after me»
Mons. Romà CASANOVA i Casanova Bishop of Vic
Today, in the Gospel of the Eucharist liturgy, we read the testimony of John the Baptist. The text preceding these words in St. John's Gospel is the prologue where it is clearly affirmed: «And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us» (Jn 1:14). What was announced in the prologue —as a great prelude— is now, step by step, manifested in the Gospel. The mystery of the Incarnated Verb is the mystery of salvation for mankind: «Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ» (Jn 1:17). Salvation comes through Jesus Christ, and faith is the answer to the manifestation of Christ. Whoever believes in Him is saved.
The mystery of salvation in Christ is accompanied always by the testimony. Jesus Christ himself is «The Amen, the faithful and true witness» (Rev 3:14). It is John the Baptist who bears witness with his vision and gaze as a prophet: «Among you stands one who (…) comes after me» (Jn 1:26-27). And this is how the Apostles understand their mission: «God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses» (Acts 2:32).
The whole Church, and therefore all its members, have the mission of bearing witness. The testimony we bring to the world has a name. Jesus Christ is the very Gospel. He is the “Good News”. And the proclamation of the Gospel all over the world must also be understood as the key of the testimony uniting inseparably the announcement and the life. It is good to remember the words from Pope Paul VI: «Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses rather than to teachers and if he does listen to teachers it is because they are witnesses».