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 those who grieve that 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 cannot provide definitive instruction on how to live but points the way to Jesus. In the beginning of the Gospel of John Jesus is described as “the true light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world.” He teaches those who would listen the ways of God and provides the necessary assistance to fulfill his directives.
As we in the Northern Hemisphere experience the minimum of sunlight during late December, we do well to reflect on Jesus as a light more radiant than that of any star. He insures us a worthy life now and eternal life in a realm beyond our dreams.