1 John 2:22-28
The anticipatory season of Advent gave way to the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The celebration of the feast of the Holy Family helped us to remember that Jesus grew in age, wisdom and grace. The new year, just begun, has also reminded us that we, too are surely growing in age, perhaps in wisdom and hopefully in grace.
That is why today’s gospel passage has a relevant resonance for us when we reflect on the conversation between John the Baptist and the priests, Levites and Pharisees who come out to challenge him with their questions:
"Who are you?…Are you Elijah?…Are you the Prophet?…Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
This last question is the one that reveals the hearts of the questioners. They are asking not for themselves but for "those who sent us". They have no commitment to the question, it did not arise from their personal desire for the Messiah.
Religious practice and religious practitioners can fall into this depersonalization of what can be a true faith experience. When religious practice does not express my own personal hunger for Jesus, for a share in the saving grace that emanates from his victory on the Cross, and from the triumph of his Resurrection, then I am only echoing the questions and concerns of "those who sent us".
When I hunger to know Jesus and his life-giving grace in my life, when I am drawn to spend time in prayer with Jesus, and when I see the providential love of God working in the events of my life, then I do know the Lord Jesus in my life, and the grace of God will see that I, too, am growing in age, wisdom and grace throughout the new year of 2013.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.