From the Gospel of today John 1:6-8, 19-28,
John replied, 'I baptize with water; but there stands among you-unknown to you-the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.' This happened at Bethany, on the far-side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
I remember visiting a baptism site on the far side of the Jordan when I visited the Holy Land in 2016. In reading the account of the Baptism of Jesus while there, I was overcome with emotion given that this may have been the first place that we had visited associated with Jesus himself. The somewhat blurred photo for today, pictures us on the Jordan side of the river, with Israel on the opposite bank. There were a number of ancient baptism pools all around and at some distance away the Jordan river itself. We went down to the river and bathed our feet in the water. On the Israel side there were people in white robes wading into the water. In writing of the Holy Land, I can't help but think of the suffering people in Gaza are encountering. Even in 2016 around the baptism site we were asked to keep to the track because the area in former times had been laid with land mines. This place where the Son of God chose to be born still suffering and divided.
St John the Baptist had a real sense of who he was and his role. He was not the Christ and was able to point him out when he came to be baptized. He was a humble witness preparing the way for the Lord. May we continue to be humble witnesses too in preparing the ground for Christ to enter into the lives of those who need to see his face and hear his voice.
Let's continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land. The prayer below is an excerpt from a prayer produced by ACN(Aid to the Church in Need)
Lord Jesus Christ,
Let peace and justice flourish at the holy sites. You are our refuge. Let the people be safe in your Love. Have mercy on us and on our time. Amen.
You may wish to listen to 'Holy Land' from the album 'Holy Land'
Blessings on your week and of course a very Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year.
I will be in contact again and sharing my songs via this blog in February 2024