Jn 1, 29-34
The next day, John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. It was of him that I said, “Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me because he existed before me.” I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptise with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John declared, ‘I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him.I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” I have seen and I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.’
The witness of John and the witness of the church are a legacy to us: He is the Son of God and therefore also the expected Messiah! How important is this for us today!
I would like to quote a few words from the book “Salvation comes from the Jews”, written by Roy Schoemann, a Jew who received the grace to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Here is an example of the impact this recognition can have on the mentality and the actions of a Jew. This is what Roy writes in the preface of his book, with all clarity and coherence:
“If Jesus was the Messiah, then all Jews who reject Christianity (or Messianic Judaism) are wrong; if Jesus was not the Messiah, Christians, as well as they think, are wrong! To be wrong does not necessarily mean moral shame or guilt, but it is nonsense to insist that Judaism is somehow right for the Jews and Christianity right for the Christians, and that the truth depends on which group one belongs to. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, of course the whole point of the Jewish religion is to bring forth the incarnation of God, and any Jew who does not accept Jesus has not understood the true role of Judaism in salvation history!”
Are we still as aware of this reality with its respective consequences today as Roy Schoemann is, who testifies to his conversion whenever the occasion arises? His joy at having known the Lord, at having been converted and having found the Catholic Church, invites us to become aware of the honour and grace of being able to say with John the Baptist: He is the Son of God!
This confession has not lost its topicality, even if this does not seem to be so important for many people today! But if we follow the logic of the Holy Scriptures, there is nothing more important for humanity than to hear the message of the Gospel and to do the will of God! What Roy Schoemann said for the Jews, we can apply to the whole of humanity! The purpose of all human existence is to get to know God and to respond to his love! This is so important that everything must take a back seat, or rather, all earthly realities must be put at the service of this one essential reason for existence! The Apostles understood this, Saint Paul lived it, Saint Francis Xavier burned for it and many other witnesses as well…
However, the question is how to reach people of today, how to awaken the desire for true love and for truth? There will not be any proven human means or any systematic methodology to achieve this goal. Sometimes we will be called to simply endure the fact that perhaps in our immediate surroundings the question of God or a deeper Christian life is not asked and arouses little interest, perhaps even alienation! This inner suffering, however, which arises from such a situation, we can offer to the Lord for the conversion of people, as well as our prayer and our witness!
But we should never lose courage and let ourselves be infected by the general aloofness and indifference! Sometimes it will be necessary to withdraw completely into inner prayer, so that our soul will not be darkened! This is especially true in times when the antichristian spirit and actions from this spirit are getting stronger and stronger! Then we need an inner space of the soul, an inner “monastic cell”, where we are alone with God! From there, with our renewed strength, we can go out again to bear witness to the Son of God, according to what He has entrusted to us:
He is the Son of God!