Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (5: 33-36) in which Jesus says to the Jews ‘you sent messengers to John and he gave his testimony to the truth… John was a lamp alight and shining and, for a time you were content to enjoy the light he gave’.
Fr Paul continues to read from the ‘Heart of the Disciple’* resource for our daily reflections which asks us to consider the following:
Truth shines a light in dark places. It is said that potentially the most difficult experience each of us will have is the moment we stand before God, who sees all and knows all, being seen inside and out. This experience will be so much easier, in fact even joyful, if we get used to living in the truth of what God sees now.
It starts with the gentle and regular acknowledgement of who we are before the God who loves us. We can learn to allow the reality of who we are, and how we struggle to truly be who God is creating us to be, to be seen. Failing to allow ourselves to become the people God is creating us to be is one way to consider our failure. When we fail, when we sin, we undermine the reality that God has for us as his Spiritfilled daughters and sons. When our thoughts and behaviour cause harm, we deny the truth of ourselves and we deny the reality of who God is.
Living lives that testify to the ‘truth’ can be easier said than done. Living in truth can draw the attention of others, and not always in a good way. Yesterday we read that Jesus declared the greatness of John the Baptist, as one who prepared the way for the Lord. John witnessed to others and invited them to open their hearts, repent of their wrongdoings and allow God to transform them. Again, today we see Jesus pay tribute to John the Baptist, as one who testified to the truth and was a ‘burning and shining lamp’ (John 5:35). John is not the light, but one who was ‘sent by God as a witness to testify to the light’ (John 1:6-7).
It was because John testified to the truth with the whole of his being that he was put to death by Herod. Herod loved to listen to him, for his words both perplexed and consoled him. He recognised the significance of John. However, he was angered when John said a true thing that landed too close to home. Truth led John to his death (see Matthew 14).
While celebrating the goodness of John the Baptist, the last among the great prophets, Jesus reveals that he has a greater testimony, as the one who is the light of the world (John 8:12), and the one who reveals God to the world. As Jesus comes to establish God’s Kingdom in each of our hearts, even the holiness of the greatest of prophets is but a dim reflection of the greatness of God, revealed through Jesus.
For our reflection and discussion, Fr Paul invites us to consider, we are to be a ‘burning and shining lamp’, just as John the Baptist was. Each of us is to be one whose heart is open to heed the message of John so that our hearts and minds are filled with the love and knowledge of God. It is through the light of Christ that I can help others come to know and share in the Light of God. How?
And together we pray:
Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may hear your word.
Let your message of love be in my heart,
so that I may become a shining and burning lamp that leads others to you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Excerpt from ‘Heart of a Disciple’ produced by Evangelisation Brisbane, https://evangelisationbrisbane.org.au/adventplus/