Following on from the beatitudes in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus speaks of his followers as salt and light. Is that us, we might wonder? While we may no longer preserve food with salt, though millions in the world still do, we all know something of the lift it can give to food. We don’t want to overdo it, but no salt and our food might lack for something.
Some people today may be puzzled by John the Baptist referring to Jesus in today’s gospel as the “lamb of God”, since for most of us the lambs we see in the paddocks are cute, but weak and vulnerable to predators. You don’t hear of nations, or even sporting teams, adopting ‘lambs’ as their emblem. Why should John identify “the Chosen One of God” as the “lamb of God”?
We often associate the word ‘king’ with power and majesty. Also, a king’s position is often not dependent on his personal abilities, virtues or goodness, but on family lineage: power and status through inheritance. But Jesus never displayed that kind of power or majesty; after all, he was born in a stable!
What to do with Wally? Wally was an awkward and shy child at his local primary school. It was time to hand out roles for the Christmas play, but what role could the teacher give Wally? She decided on the innkeeper. It wasn’t a key role and only required Wally to shake his head and say one line, “Sorry, we’ve no room.” Wally grinned from ear to ear when he learned of his role, and he couldn’t wait for the big night.
When there is a major announcement of a forthcoming event, it is usually accompanied by a media statement and even a press conference. Sometimes social media influencers are also invited to create some excitement and “buzz” around the announcement. Companies like Apple, Tesla and Boeing spend millions of dollars to launch their latest products worldwide.
John the Baptist was quite a celebrity around Jerusalem. People came from everywhere to see this strange man who lived on locusts and wild honey, dressed in camel hair, and preached the need for repentance. He even instituted a new ritual of baptism – pouring water on people’s heads – as a sign of forgiveness for those who confess their sins and genuinely seek a new way of life.