The Gospel according to John (5:33-36)
Jesus said to the Jews: “You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. John was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”
Reflection: It’s true that when we have something good, something we enjoy, something we are grateful for, we easily rejoice in that good thing. But when the good thing we have is replaced by something even better, we move on from the old and cling to the new. On a supernatural level, this is what happened as people moved from being followers of Saint John the Baptist to followers of Jesus.
At first, many people were content rejoicing in the “light” of John. They enjoyed his preaching and his personal witness and saw the effects in their lives of the baptism of repentance he offered. But as people were pointed to Jesus, becoming His new followers, they would have been even more joyful and at peace being with their newfound Lord. The initial transition might have been difficult. But as they came to know the very Person of Jesus, they would have been deeply grateful.
Today’s passage points out this spiritual principle. For so many people, “John was a burning and shining lamp,” and his followers were very content with all that John gave to them. But Jesus points out to John’s followers that His testimony is so much greater.
What was Jesus’ “testimony?” First, He says that it is the works the Father gave Him to perform. These were His miracles, His preaching and His personal witness of virtue that left so many in awe. But Jesus goes on to say that the Father has also testified on His behalf. This means that Jesus’ greatness is especially found in the fact that those who encountered Him were also encountering the Father in Heaven Whom they do not see with their eyes. But Jesus is clear that when they see and listen to Him, they are also encountering the Father.
One thing this tells us is that we must be open to the testimony of the Father in our lives. The testimony of the Father is accomplished by allowing our souls to truly hear the voice of the Father speaking to us through the instrumentality of the Son. All that Jesus did and spoke in the Scriptures, all the graces transmitted through the Sacraments, and every encounter with our Lord through prayer are ways of coming to know the Father in Heaven.
Action of the Day: Reflect, today, upon the profound reality that God the Father wants a deep and personal relationship with you. He wants to speak to you, reveal Himself to you and draw close to you. Don’t allow this Advent to pass by without prayerfully seeking out His voice, allowing Him to testify to you about His love and care for you. The Son of God came into this world so that He could become one with you. And through that oneness, He reveals to you the love of the Father in Heaven.