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Shining Your Light in a Darkened World

December 13, 2020   Third Sunday of Advent (Lectionary: 8)

Reading 1   IS 61:1-2A, 10-11
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

Responsorial Psalm   LK 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54.
R. (Is 61:10b) My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
R. My soul rejoices in my God.

Reading 2   1 THES 5:16-24
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

Alleluia   IS 61:1 (cited in LK 4:18)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   JN 1:6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, “I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘make straight the way of the Lord,’”
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

By Michele Volk 

I have always loved lighthouses. I don’t why, they’ve just always caught my attention, sitting in a picturesque landscape, against a coast, with the ocean at their front door. 

A few years ago, lighthouses took on a deeper and more profound meaning in my spiritual life. I was reflecting on them in prayer and was struck by something.

When a lighthouse is in use, you can’t actually see the lighthouse, you can only see the light it gives off. And in the same way, I am a vessel for Christ’s light. It was a tangible image for me and what I am called to be in this faith.

I am called to allow Christ’s light to shine through me, but I am not the light itself.

I have worked in ministry for several years and it can be so easy to get swept up into subconsciously and unintentionally believing that I am other’s Savior. I so often get swept up in pride, taking credit for something that’s not mine to take. I am not their Savior. I am to allow His light to shine through me, but I am not Him.

This doesn’t mean I can’t show that light to others. I am called to do that. But I must be reminded that the light that shines through me is not my own.

That light ceases to exist without its source.

In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist reminds us of just this. John, the Gospel writer, says of John the Baptist (I know, so many Johns) that, “He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.” John the Baptist knew exactly who he was. He was a humble servant preparing the way for the Lord. He allowed that light to shine through him, but he himself was not it.

I, like John the Baptist, still have a role to play. I am called to bear Christ’s light, pointing others to him, and that is a great honor and privilege.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Michele Volk is a Philly native who has found a new home in the arctic tundra of Minnesota, where she has lived for the past 5 years. She is a graduate student at University of St. Thomas, campus minister, and high school soccer coach. Michele is always in pursuit of the best slice of pizza and taco food truck. She loves traveling, Spikeball, and a good bonfire. Most of all, she treasures her family, friends, and students.

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