By Father Andrew Kelly
The question arises in Sunday’s Gospel (John 1:6-8, 19-28): “Who are you?” The question is to John the Baptizer. But it is also the fundamental question of the believing community: “Who are you?”
John the Baptizer made it very clear that he was not the Messiah, Elijah or the prophet. But sometimes the community forgets that it is not the Messiah, Elijah or the prophet and begins to act in a manner as if to indicate it is. After all there are a lot of perks, power and prestige that come by acting as the Messiah, Elijah or one of the prophets.
During the Advent season the community humbly faces itself and discovers fulfillment in simply being who John the Baptizer was.
John the Baptizer proclaimed what the community lives: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”
The community’s Advent mission statement now reads: “We are a community sent from God. Our name is John. We come as witnesses to testify to the light, so that all might believe through the light. We are not the light, but we come to testify to the light.”
(Father Andrew Kelly is pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mechanicsville.)