Faith Daily | 2 January 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p479
by the leading of a star
you manifested your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles:
mercifully grant, that we, who know you now by faith,
may after this life be led to the vision
of your glorious Godhead;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 1: 19-28
19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ 21And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ 22Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said.
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ 26John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Hilary Bell
John had become known for powerfully calling on people to repent and for baptizing those who answered his call. Water symbolically washed the sinners, Gentiles and Jews alike, who recognized their need for cleansing. These activities and attracting followers gained the attention of the religious leaders who demand to know who he is, by whom he is authorized to perform such ministry, in effect what are his qualifications?
John replies that he is not The Messiah, nor is he Elijah returned, nor is he the Prophet but he is the one who Isaiah said would come to “make straight the way “ to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. His testimony here as well as his actions point to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, who will save people from their sins, and baptize them not with water but with the Holy Spirit.
For us a new year, new beginnings and new resolutions. Lifted in the spirit of hope, peace, joy and love of Christmas, celebrating God with us, we need daily to “walk in the way”. John called on people to repent of their sins and to acknowledge their need for cleansing and saving; so we too must “make straight the way of the Lord”.
What are the bumps and obstacles in our lives that we must remove or smooth over? What impedes our progress on our journey? What are the landmarks, guides and lights that keep us on the right path? Who are our teachers and prophets constantly pointing us to the greatness of God?
FINAL PRAYER St Columba
My dearest Lord,
Be thou a bright flame before me
Be thou a guiding star above me
Be thou a smooth path beneath me
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me
Today and for evermore.