When my nephew was five, he was visiting with my mother shortly before Christmas. Grandma asked him what Santa would bring him. His answer was a long list of the latest toys, but he ended with a surprise! With all the simplicity and honesty of a child, Jason spread out his arms in resignation and said, “And probably a lump of coal!” Jason knew himself to be good and yet, sometimes, not so good.
The challenge of our Gospel today is to be clear about who we are and who we are not. Who we are must flow from our relationship with Jesus. John was sure of his identity because he was sure about the identity of Jesus. His self knowledge enables John to be who God intends him to be. If we are asked, “Who are you?” can we be so sure about our identity in relation to Jesus that our lives point to him?
Our Baptism plunges us into Christ’s saving mystery. Our baptism transforms us into the Body of Christ and initiates a lifelong relationship to Christ and each other. We are called to announce the presence of Christ among us and within us.
We too are heralds of Christ. United with Christ, we can bring a “year of favor”.