“He comes in the form of the beggar, of the abandoned child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as here are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbour.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45)
As we move through Advent looking forward to what for many is a sentimental, family orientated time of indulgence, we need to reflect on the message of John. Last week, David spoke to us about the importance of John the Baptist in salvation - the last of the prophets, at the gateway of a new age.
Our Gospel today, for various reasons, stresses not the man but his role as a witness to the Christ who is coming to the earth, not just as a helpless baby, but as the Image of God in human form. Bonhoeffer remind us that this Jesus will grow up and can, and must, be seen in our neighbour, and we are reminded too (Luke 10:29-37) that our neighbour is anyone we come in contact with who may need our help. Bonhoeffer bore witness to his neighbour in his life and martyrdom.