Soul Food for Sundays

A Reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflections 19th January 2020
Jn. 1: 29-34

The Author: Samson Mann C.S.Sp.
calendar_today Date: January 19, 2020 - 2 minutes read

Jn. 1: 29-34 (

Unlike the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Gospel according to John has a rather plain description of John the Baptist. It makes no mention of his eccentric lifestyle or dress (living in the desert, wearing camel hair), or of his strange diet (eating locusts and wild honey).  The text doesn’t even use the title ‘John the Baptist’.  However, one point in the Fourth Gospel is very clear, recording that the Baptist does not want any case of mistaken identity; he asserts that he is definitely not the Christ, nor even a Messiah look-alike.  John is a witness to the light; he is not the light.  He is merely a forerunner in the vanguard party.

In John’s Gospel the first mention by John the Baptist of Jesus is that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, the pre-existent one, the giver of the Spirit. The Baptist admits his lack of knowledge of the person whom he was sent to introduce, and yet his words present a profound recognition of Jesus’ mission.  John takes courage to share what he believes and to lead others to the person of Jesus, and his testimony is a pilgrimage of faith.

The scene of Jesus being baptized by John is not described directly in the Fourth Gospel.  We learn that only from the other Gospels.  At his baptism, the Spirit came down upon Jesus with power.  At that time the communal Christian experience of Pentecost had yet to emerge.  John’s baptismal ministry was a rite of repentance, a call for conversion of heart and spirit.

We have rejoiced over the Christmas Season: ‘The Lord is come.’  During this first month of the new year and of the new decade, in the spirit of John the Baptist, we pray to have the encourage to bear witness for the light in our daily life, as part of our ongoing Christian pilgrimage of repentance and conversion.

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Samson Mann C.S.Sp.

Fr. Samson studied theology before working for two decades in social science research and social work in multicultural settings. Ordained to the priesthood in Kimmage in 2018, he is a member of the Spiritan community which is attached to SPIRASI.