The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Pio Estepa SVD — Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City
Friday 3rd Week of Advent
Photo: Sanctuary Cross at Centre Theresianum, Kinsasa, Congo
He was a precocious twelve-year-old when he made his first independent decision: to remain in the Temple without informing his parents who were then journeying back home in the company of other pilgrims with whom they came from Nazareth to Jerusalem. On the third day of their frantic search, Joseph and Mary finally found Jesus amid a group of scholars discussing the Torah. Their boy just calmly explained: “Should I not be about my Father’s business?”
Now aged thirty, his male peers in the village are married and already have each at least a child of his own. Yet he remains single and sustaining his mother by working as a carpenter―just as his deceased foster-father has taught him. Yet he still has found no clear answer to that strident question within him: “Here and now, just how must I be about my Father’s business?”
It is then that he hears about some hermit preaching in the desert about the looming advent of the long-awaited Messiah. And to all contrite of heart, that prophet offers baptism as a pledge of commitment to ongoing repentance from sin and evil. So, Jesus leaves home in search of the Baptist. And finding the latter, he humbly submits to his spiritual direction and discipline.
Today’s Gospel proclaims the later tribute that Jesus said of John: “He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light” (Jn 5:35). Thanks to him, Jesus himself came concretely to envision his messianic call and completely to devote himself to “the works that the Father gave me to accomplish…” (Jn 5:36).
At this second Simbang Gabi, the Gospel makes us ask ourselves: here and now, how am I one with Jesus in realizing his saving mission for all? To the degree that our daily works join with His in fostering the Father’s plan of salvation for all, grace will reinforce our enabling and ennobling sense of being “children of God.” That title sums up our ultimate calling―in which we find our intimate identity.