Burning and Shining Lamp

Homily for Friday of the 3rd Week of Advent

In our Gospel this morning, Jesus is continuing to speak about John the Baptist, reminding the people how he was the messenger that pointed them to recognize that salvation was at hand. Jesus calls John “a burning and shining lamp.” But, John’s light was not his own.

John knew exactly who he was and exactly who he was not. He knew what his mission and purpose was; it wasn’t to draw attention to himself, but to call attention to the Lord. That was only possible because of God’s grace. John collaborated with that grace by his sincere effort to seek and serve God in all things. The genuine union with God that he sought is what made his heart and soul glow with holiness.

Each of us as baptized followers of Jesus are called to the same standard. It is our vocation, our calling, our responsibility to be the same example for our families, our friends, our parish community, our world. It is Jesus whom we are invited to share with the world. It is Jesus whom we should be pointing others toward. Do we take that seriously or do we become satisfied with rejoicing in our own lights?

As we continue with this Advent season, let’s reflect more deeply on that aspect of our calling as Christian disciples. May we, like John, always remember that we are called to point others to Christ. It isn’t about us; it’s about Jesus. Let’s go out and live like it.

Painting: Saint John the Baptist Pointing to Christ, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Art Institute of Chicago. Wikicommons. CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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