Lectio Divina: Third Sunday of Advent - Cycle B

on 14 Dec, 2023
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ParIs (France), Sr. ANNE LÉCU, December 17, 2023.- Welcoming joy.


Gospel according to Saint John (John 1: 6-8.19-28)

“A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites [to him] to ask him, “Who are you?”
he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.”
So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert,
“Make straight the way of the Lord,” as Isaiah the prophet said. Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”

For the third Sunday of Advent – Sunday of Joy – the liturgy highlights John the Baptist. Two groups oppose each other: the priests and the Levites. They want to know, they need precise answers to their questions, and finally to get their hands on the man, and on the other hand, only John, who keeps saying, “I am not, I do not know”, and speaking of Jesus, “the one you do not recognize”.

We are also always among those priests and Levites who need to know, or those close to Jesus who say “we know him” which is never a good sign. Jesus only makes himself known in self-emptying, at the heart of the paschal mystery which can be approached already in the crib in the poverty of a child. But fundamentally, we do not know it until we are in this same need.


One sentence deserves our full attention: In your midst stands the one you do not know. Literally, it could read “amidst you stands…”. The Word, the One we do not know, is not only in our midst, but he is also amidst, the One who allows us to be linked to one another, the Mediator par excellence. In this sense, he is the elusive, unknowable or rather, we can only know him in self-emptying, another name for charity, a source of joy.


Lord, give us the grace to be like John the Baptist, concerned with preparing for your coming into this world and ready to step aside so that you can come.


“He was not the Light, but he was there to bear witness to the Light.”