In the year of Mark's Gospel we return to John the Baptist. But Mark is brief about the Baptist and all that he writes was considered last week. The liturgy today gives us two parts of the first chapter of John, the great prologue.
"A man came sent by God, his name was John." After John introduces the "word made flesh" eternal and consubstantial, John introduces us to the Baptist. "He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him." John, in his Gospel, speaks much about the Baptist. He is at great pains to show that John was not the light. John still had great numbers of followers at that time and a few even till today. John is questioned about his identity and proclaims: "I am, as Isaiah prophesied, a voice that cries in the wilderness: 'make a straight way for the Lord'."
This passage is shortened considerably. There are eleven verses missing! One section has John proclaiming that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.