In response to Jews who sought to persecute Christ for teaching on the Sabbath, He reveals the authority He has been given as the Son of God by the Father and mysteriously refers to His coming Passion, Resurrection and the Judgment that is to come to all men who He will resurrect from the dead.  To prove His authority, Christ follows the Jewish legal tradition that requires two or three witnesses to prove a claim (Deut 19:15).

Christ introduces John the Baptist as His first witness. John’s witness to the truth, is not just confirmation of the fact that Christ is the Messiah, but that Christ is Truth itself (John 14:6). Christ describes the Baptist as a “burning and shining lamp”, a referral both to John’s message which reveals Christ is the Light of the World; Christ also uses words that described Elijah (Sir 48:1), again (Matt 17:12) mysteriously revealing the John the the New Elijah who announces the coming of the Messiah.

Though Christ gives great honor to John the Baptist by acknowledging John’s testimony and that John is the greatest of men born to women (Matt11:11), Christ does not rely on John’s testimony. Infinitely greater than John’s witness is Christ’s  glorious works that prove His Divinity; these works also point to the omnipotence of God the Father who witnesses to Christ by granting Christ authority. Later, Christ reveals that Sacred Scripture and the great lawgiver Moses also bear witness to Christ (v. 39-47).

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ offers the startling proclamation of His authority by revealing that God the Father has sent Him. Divine Prophet, Christ proclaims His divinity and presents both the greatest prophet John the Baptist and the great patriarch Moses as His witnesses. Divine Mercy, Christ has no need to prove anything to anyone, but presents the case for His authority for the salvation of souls.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Magnanimity is a a virtue that literally means “greatness of soul.”  Reflect on Christ’s Divine Magnanimity in which He is willing to offer a defense of His Divinity to men so that they might be saved.

2) By honoring John the Baptist’s witness to Him, Christ provides all men with an incentive to bear witness to Him. This Advent, pray for Christ to help you grow in your imitation of John the Baptist’s fearless witness to Christ.

3) Despite the lack of necessity for Christ to prove Himself to anyone, He willingly uses Jewish traditions of presenting a case so that men might believe and be saved.  During Advent, make the commitment to learn and defend the Catholic faith (apologetics), so that you might imitate Christ’s actions of offering proof to those with wobbly belief.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries