16 December  
Jn 5:33-36

Jesus said to the Jews: You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.

One can suppose a Jewish challenge to Jesus, “Who bears witness to your claim?”  Jesus mentions four: 1. John the Baptist; 2. the “works” that the Father entrusted to him; 3. the Father’s word – though they are deaf to this witness; and 4. the Scriptures.  All of these are aspects of the Father’s (“Another’s”) witness to him. 

Some scholars believe that what we have here is a worked-out answer that later Christians gave when challenged by Jews.  St Paul said that believers should be able to give an account of their faith and hope; and so should we.  We need not trouble ourselves with ‘proof-texts’ in the way that fundamentalists do; but we need to be in tune with the great ‘witnesses’.  We should be like musicians, who are able to hear music more deeply than others (others who may be just arguing about the score).  The great witnesses: the Father, and the work he accomplishes through Jesus; and the word of Scripture, alive in our hearts and in our lives.


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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