"Witnessing to Jesus, like John the Baptist, a "great man" who was "humble" who took "the same road that will take Jesus after", that of "emptying oneself."
This was the model indicated by the Pope to those
who attended Mass celebrated this morning in Casa Santa Marta, including
some married couples, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
The Church’s liturgy turns once again, as it has in the past two
days, to the figure of St John the Baptist, presented in the Gospel as
the “witness.” His vocation, the Pope explained in his homily, is “to
give witness to Jesus,” “to point out Jesus,” like a lamp with respect
to the light: A lamp that points out where the light is, that bears
witness to the light. He was the voice. He said of himself: “I am the
voice that cries out in the desert.”
He was the voice but that bears
witness to the Word, points out the Word, the Word of God, the Word. He
was only the voice. The Word. He was the preacher of penitence who
baptized, the Baptist, but he makes it clear, he says clearly: “After me
comes another who is mightier than I, who is greater than I, whose
sandals I am not worthy to untie. And He will baptize you in fire and
the Holy Spirit.”
John, then, is the “place-holder who points out the definitive
figure”; and the definitive figure is Jesus. This, the Pope said, “is
his greatness,” which was demonstrated each time the people and the
doctors of the law asked him whether or not he was the Messiah, and he
clearly responded, “I am not he”: And this provisional but certain,
strong testimony; that torch that was not put out by the wind of vanity;
that voice that was not diminished by the force of pride; always
becomes one that indicates the other and opens the gate to the other
testimony, that of the Father, that which Jesus speaks of today: “But I
have a testimony greater than that of John: that of the Father. And John
the Baptist opens the gate to this testimony.” And the voice of the
Father is heard: “This is my Son.” It was for John to open this gate.
And this John was great, always left aside.
John is humble, he “annihilates himself,” the Pope emphasized once
again, he takes the same road that Jesus would take later, that “of
emptying himself.” And it will be thus until the end: “in the darkness
of a cell, in prison, beheaded because of the whim of a dancing girl,
the envy of an adulteress, the weakness of a drunkard.” If we have to
paint a portrait, Francis is of the mind that “this alone is how we must
This is an image that the Pope then offered to the faithful
present, including religious and bishops celebrating their jubilees,
and married couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries.
a beautiful day to question ourselves about our own Christian life, if
our own Christian life has always opened the road to Jesus, if our own
life was full of this act: pointing out Jesus. Giving thanks for the
many times that they did it, giving thanks and beginning anew, after the
fiftieth anniversary, with this aged youth or this youthful age – like
the good wine! – taking a step forward in order to continue to be
witnesses of Jesus. May John, the great witness, help you in this new
path that you are beginning today, after the celebration of the fiftieth
anniversary, of priesthood, of consecrated life, and of matrimony”.