There is a little piece of Wisdom that goes, 'Just because someone has asked you a question doesn't mean you have to answer it.' In today's Gospel, St John the Baptiser is a great example of this!
Perhaps a story, in thIs year of Mark, will explain. It is the story of a parish that had begun the fall apart. The young people had voted with their feet, those left behind barely spoke to one another and people had stopped believing that the direction offered was the right one.
Once upon a time, in the streets that surrounded the parish church, there lived a Rabbi. The parishioners would see him from time to time walking their streets and would say to each other, "The Rabbi is walking the streets."
The Parish Priest was worried about the decline in the parish. He had prayed and worked to change the situation but to no avail. One day, he saw the Rabbi walking the streets and decided to ask his advice. He walked up behind the Rabbi, who turned and hugged the parish priest and whispered that he knew the situation.
When the Parish Priest asked for his advice, he was astonished when the Rabbi said, "Someone in your community is the Messiah!" Then he turned and went on his way.
The Parish Priest met some parishioners who has seen this encounter and they asked, 'What did the Rabbi say?" "One of us is the Messiah," the parish priest said incredulously.
The news spread through the parish like wildfire. Parishioners began talking to one another. " One of us." "Which one?"
Slowly things began to change in the parish, as everyone began to search for the Messiah in each other and listen for the voice of the Messiah in each other's words. The Parish began to grow inside and out as people came to receive genuine solace and direction.
Of course, the truths in this story are not really about who was the Messiah. Instead, it invites a new level of attention as we ask questions or listen to each other. Remember the poem by Hafiz? " How do I listen to others? As if everyone were my Master. Speaking to me His last Cherished Words".