"There was a man sent from God." In this man we see perhaps the only outstanding example among a multitude, of the workings of God's providence among us. The conception, birth, life in the desert, and the role of herald of the Messiah, are all the effects of God's intervention in our behalf. John the Baptist was sent by God: "to bear witness to the Light" of the world, to tell the remnant of the Chosen People that God's eternal plan for them was being implemented; that the incarnation of his divine Son had taken place.
John's testimony was certainly world-shaking news. Weak, mortals were to be changed into children of God by adoption. Pardon for their sins would be earned by the bodily sufferings of the incarnate one ~ Jesus. His resurrection would conquer death. People would rise again and enter into the everlasting life of the Trinity.
Down through two thousand years or so, God had been preparing the world for this staggering event. As a special people, he chose Abraham and his descendants. He revealed to them something of his eternal nature and especially his fatherly interest in the human beings he had created. Through his prophets he gave them some fairly clear indications of the loftiness of his eternal plan, namely, the fact of the incarnation.
John was the last of the great line of prophets and he was the greatest of them all. It was his privilege to point out to his audience the Son of God in human nature, the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," and also to hear God's voice from heaven proclaiming Christ to be his "beloved Son." He was surely a man sent from God.
John was sent not only for people of his day, but for people of all time. Over the past two thousand years the good news of the incarnation, of our redemption and exaltation, has reached the most of the world. But there have been, in all generations, those who will not hear. These are people who, like the leaders of the Jews in John's day, are so self-centered and proud that they think they have no need for God or time for God in their lives.
Let those of us who believe in God and who know what he has done to give our life its true purpose and meaning, show him by a faithful service how grateful we are for his infinite mercy and kindness. Let’s listen to the call of John the Baptist, and from our hearts turn from our sins. Let’s prepare for Christmas, the anniversary of Christ's human appearance on earth, by cleansing ourselves of all attachments, by making a firm resolution to follow the Lamb through life.
By so doing we too shall "bear witness to the light." Our living faith will light up the darkness for others and they, too, will hear the call of God. Each one of us can be another John the Baptist, by giving testimony to God's interest in and love for all people. We can then lead our careless or indifferent brothers and sisters back on to the path of salvation, the road to heaven. The challenge for each of us is to bring a former/lapsed Catholic back to Mass!