In today’s Gospel, the focus is again on John the Baptist. And yet, John does not seek glory for himself. Asked who he is by the messengers from Jerusalem, John’s first response is, “I am not the Christ.” John knows that he has been sent by God to prepare the way for the Christ who is to come. When the Messiah comes, he will bring good news to the poor, heal broken hearts and set prisoners free. Jesus will be the Light, shining into the darkness of our world. The evangelist tells us twice that John the Baptist is “a witness to speak for the light” – sent to make a straight way for the Messiah.
We can use the season of Advent to make a straight way for the Lord by prayer and reflection, preparing our hearts to receive him. And our joy at Christ’s coming should lead us to reach out to those in our own communities who may be poor and marginalised. If we want to be witnesses to the light, we must make sure that there is good news for the poor this Christmas.