Posted by: fvbcdm | December 14, 2012

Feast of Saint Lucy (13 Dec 2012)

The Jewish people of Our Lord’s time often referred to divine revelation in the Old Testament as “the law and the prophets.” Those two forms of literature summed up for them all that God had spoken to the human race. That is the reason why, at the glorious moment of the transfiguration of Our Lord before his disciples, the lawgiver Moses and the great prophet Elijah appeared beside him on the mountain. They paid homage to him whom they foretold. And the voice of the Father was heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” In today’s Advent liturgy, Our Lord says to us: “There has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” And he goes on to say, “All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.” So if we pay close attention, we hear Our Lord dividing sacred history into three phases: the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, the brief appearance of Saint John the Baptist at the point of juncture between the two testaments, and then the Kingdom of God which Our Lord ushers into the world. I think we all know what a diptych is; it is a work of art composed of two panels hinged together, on each of which there is a depiction of some sacred person or event. Well, we can think of the Old and the New Testament as the two panels of a diptych, and Saint John the Baptist is the hinges that holds the two panels together. Thus it is possible to divide sacred history into the Old Testament, the ministry of Saint John the Baptist, and then the New Testament. In this light, we see the importance and the key role that Saint John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, plays in God’s plan for salvation. It is he who points to Jesus and says: there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Even though I have become a very popular figure in the religious life of Judaism, he is far superior to me, so much so that I am not even worthy to carry his sandals. I will decrease, but he will increase, and his kingdom will keep increasing until the end of time.

This view of the Precursor of the Lord helps us to understand why Saint John the Baptist is so important, and such a towering figure in the holy season of Advent. At the Communion of every Mass, the celebrant uses the very words of Saint John the Baptist in speaking of Jesus in the Eucharist:  “This is the Lamb of God who takes the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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