Do you know about Jesus or do you know Jesus?

Twice in today’s short gospel Saint John the Baptist says, “I did not know him.” This line struck me because there can be a temptation in thinking that knowing a lot about Jesus is the same as knowing him. But if Saint John the Baptist is an example, then we know that we learn more about Jesus when we really know Jesus. Knowing Jesus, having a relationship with Jesus, and seeing that relationship take root when we become disciples of his, is a good goal for all of us.

God can bring good from your worst

It will come as no surprise to those who know me, but I am not always at my best. Sometimes I am cranky, don’t listen and am too opinionated, to name only a few of my faults. And sometimes I wrongly judge people. And I sometimes get angry at God. But today’s first reading should serve as a reminder that even when we are not at our best, God can still use us for good.

Why did John baptize Jesus?

In the early Church, there was some confusion about why Jesus was baptized by John. We see even John the Baptist has a question about the appropriateness of his baptizing Jesus. The gospel of John mentions a few times that John the Baptist was not the light, not the one coming into the world. So why, then? As we have seen all throughout the Christmas season, the Baptism of Jesus is one more way we see the divinity of Jesus manifest.

It all starts with God

At the beginning of a new civil year, the focus can be on making resolutions. More than that, the focus can be simply on our own effort to accomplish these resolutions. We must work harder. We must put in more effort. We must do it ourselves. In today’s first reading from Saint John, we learn the most important truth. It all starts with God. We can love because God first loved us. So seek his grace.

What did you go out to see? Whom do you seek?

What do you want from God? What is it you are looking for? So much of our lives are spent seeking something. But we do not always know what it is. Sometimes we want success without effort. We want to be filled with things that make us empty. We want deep friendship or marriage without sacrifice. Today the people are asked just what they are looking for in God. And this is the question for Advent.

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