The Gospel describes John the Baptist as a witness “to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” (Jn. 1:7) He was like a lamp that showed us Jesus, the one and only true Light of the world. What happens to a lamp that can teach us to lead others to Jesus? Let us examine three characteristics of an oil lamp. First, it is LIT. From a flicker of light coming from a match stick, an oil lamp is lit. This means that a lamp gets its light initially from another source; it borrows light before it enlightens. John the Baptist was conscious that he was not the primordial source of Light; he was simply the one sent by God to witness to the Light. When asked by the Jews who he was, he answered: “I am not the Messiah.” (Jn.1:20) If ever he witnessed to and spoke for the Light, he borrowed his light from God. Like John, we too, borrow our light from God to witness to Christ. We live borrowed lives from God.
Second, it SHINES. Yes, when a lamp it lit, it shines brightly to enlighten a dark place. Jesus himself said: “Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.” (Mt. 5:15) John the Baptist made the Light of Christ shine when he told the Jews: “I am the voice of one crying in the desert, Make straight the way for the Lord. (Jn. 1:23) As a lamp shining in the wilderness, he guided sinners to have a change of heart and to rectify their sinful lives in order to prepare for the coming of the Lord. In the same way, we have to let the light of Christ shine. As the beautiful song goes: “It is to better light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark.”
We have always been enlightened by the teachings of Christ, lessons that have made us discover a good number of things about ourselves, our families, our country and even our world. We have to use the light of Christ to make this world a better place to live in. And most of all, make the light of Christ shine in and through us to make people understand that it is better to love than to hate, to give than to receive, and to be holy than worldly.
Third, it BURNS. The light from the lamp burns because of the oil. The oil used is consumed as the light burns. God used John the Baptist to baptize with water those who came to him (Jn. 1:26). He served God by offering a baptism of repentance and reconciliation. Like John, let us allow ourselves to be used by God to bring people back to Him. We can be servants of God willing to be consumed in our burning desire to reach out to people, especially those in need. As children of the Light, let us be the light we have received when we were baptized and be kept burning brightly as we welcome the Lord who comes to us each moment of our lives. God bless!
In this third week of Advent, on the 21st, we have the optional memorial of St. Peter Canisius, and this day starts the winter season. And on the 23rd, we have the other optional memorial of St. John Kanty.
#21 A JOKE FROM ST. JOE: Doctor: “Your recovery was a big miracle!” Patient: “Thanks be to GOD! Does that mean, Doc, I don’t have to pay your bill?”
Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,