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From: John 1:19-28

The Witness of John

[19] And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites
from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” [20] He confessed, he did not deny,
but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” [21] And they asked him, “What then? Are
you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
[22] They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who
sent us. What do you say about yourself?” [23] He said, “I am the voice of one
crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet
Isaiah said.”

[24] Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. [25] They asked him, “Then
why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
[26] John answered, “I baptize with water; but among you stands One whom
you do not know, [27] even He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal
I am not worthy to untie.” [28] This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.


19-34. This passage forms a unity, beginning and ending with reference to the
Baptist’s “testimony”: it thereby emphasizes the mission given him by God to
bear witness, by his life and preaching, to Jesus as the Messiah and Son of
God. The Precursor exhorts people to do penance and he practices the auste-
rity he preaches; he points Jesus out as the Lamb of God who takes away the
sin of the world; and he proclaims him boldly in the face of the Jewish authori-
ties. He is an example to us of the fortitude with which we should confess Christ:
“All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of the word, wherever
they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which the put on in Bap-
tism” (Vatican II, “Ad Gentes”, 11).

19-24. In this setting of intense expectation of the imminent coming of the Mes-
siah, the Baptist is a personality with enormous prestige, as is shown by the
fact that the Jewish authorities send qualified people (priests and Levites from
Jerusalem) to ask him if he is the Messiah.

John’s great humility should be noted: he is quick to tell his questioners: “I am
not the Christ”. He sees himself as someone insignificant compared with our
Lord: “I am not worthy to untie the thong of His sandal” (verse 27). He places all
his prestige at the service of his mission as precursor of the Messiah and, lea-
ving himself completely to one side, he asserts that “He must increase, but I
must decrease” (John 3:30).

25-26. “Baptize”: this originally meant to submerge in water, to bathe. For the
Jews the rite of immersion meant legal purification of those who had contracted
some impurity under the Law. Baptism was also used as a rite for the incorpora-
tion of Gentile proselytes into the Jewish people. In the Dead Sea Scrolls there
is mention of a baptism as a rite of initiation and purification into the Jewish
Qumran community, which existed in our Lord’s time.

John’s baptism laid marked stress on interior conversion. His words of exhorta-
tion and the person’s humble recognition of his sins prepared people to receive
Christ’s grace: it was a very efficacious rite of penance, preparing the people for
the coming of the Messiah, and it fulfilled the prophecies that spoke precisely
of a cleansing by water prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God in the mes-
sianic times (cf. Zechariah 13:1; Ezekiel 36:25; 37-23; Jeremiah 4:14). John’s
baptism, however, had no power to cleanse the soul of sins, as Christian Bap-
tism does (cf. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:4).

“One whom you do not know”: Jesus had not yet publicly revealed Himself as
Messiah and Son of God; although some people did know as a man, St. John
the Baptist could assert that really they did not know Him.

27. The Baptist declares Christ’s importance by comparing himself to a slave
undoing the laces of his master’s sandals. If we want to approach Christ, whom
St. John heralds, we need to imitate the Baptist. As St. Augustine says: “He
who imitates the humility of the Precursor will understand these words. [...]
John’s greatest merit, my brethren, is this act of humility” (”In Ioann. Evang.”,
4, 7).

28. This is a reference to the town of Bethany which was situated on the eastern
bank of the Jordan, across from Jericho—different from the Bethany where Laza-
rus and his family lived, near Jerusalem (cf. John 11:18).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 01/01/2014 10:03:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Jerusalem Bible published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

First reading

1 John 2:22-28 ©

The man who denies that Jesus is the Christ –

he is the liar,

he is Antichrist;

and he is denying the Father as well as the Son,

because no one who has the Father can deny the Son,

and to acknowledge the Son is to have the Father as well.

Keep alive in yourselves what you were taught in the beginning:

as long as what you were taught in the beginning is alive in you,

you will live in the Son

and in the Father;

and what is promised to you by his own promise

is eternal life.

This is all that I am writing to you about the people who are trying to lead you astray.

But you have not lost the anointing that he gave you,

and you do not need anyone to teach you;

the anointing he gave teaches you everything;

you are anointed with truth, not with a lie,

and as it has taught you, so you must stay in him.

Live in Christ, then, my children,

so that if he appears, we may have full confidence,

and not turn from him in shame

at his coming.


Psalm 97:1-4 ©

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Sing a new song to the Lord

  for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm

  have brought salvation.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

The Lord has made known his salvation;

  has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love

  for the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

All the ends of the earth have seen

  the salvation of our God.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth,

  ring out your joy.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Gospel Acclamation


Alleluia, alleluia!

The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

To all who received him he gave power to become children of God.




Alleluia, alleluia!

At various times in the past

and in various different ways,

God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;

but in our own time, the last days,

he has spoken to us through his Son.



Alleluia, alleluia!

A hallowed day has dawned upon us.

Come, you nations, worship the Lord,

for today a great light has shone down upon the earth.



John 1:19-28 ©

This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:

a voice that cries in the wilderness:

Make a straight way for the Lord.’

Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

5 posted on 01/01/2014 10:07:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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