Friday of the Third Week of Advent
(Isaiah 56-3a.6-8; John 5:33-36)
A lovely poem by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore treats the somber theme of death. It says that death is not what is popularly thought -- the “extinguishing (of) the light.” Rather, it consoles, death is “putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” The same interplay of two kinds of light governs the Christian perspective of the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus.
In today’s gospel passage Jesus calls John “a burning and shining lamp.” He lightens the way to Jesus himself as the Savior of the world. In the beginning of the gospel Jesus is called “the true light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world.” He teaches how to live and provides the necessary help to fulfill his instructions.
As we in the Northern Hemisphere experience the minimum of sunlight during late December, we reflect on Jesus as the light more radiant than that of any star. He insures a worthy life now and eternal life in a realm beyond our dreams.