Christmas Tide (2nd January, 2019)
Saint of the Day: Sts. Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen
First Reading: 1 Jn 2:22-28
Gospel: Jn 1:19-28
The scripture depicts accounts of many prophets and messengers of God. They had the vocation of being spokes persons of God and his representatives in all they did and spoke. This came true in the case of John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus Christ. In the life of John the Baptist, he was not just the messenger of God’s word but very specially had to prepare and announce the coming of Christ and thus pave the way for Him. Another special characteristic one can find in John the Baptist was that He fulfilled His mission in the most humble way. These two characteristics namely his vocation to prepare the way of the Lord and carry God’s message in the humble way possible to spread Message of God as His priority. The message of John the Baptist was very clear. The message was “Christ is coming and that there is need to prepare the way for him. Secondly, he also points out the significance and efficacy of Christ’s baptism over him. So, both in his preaching as well as the administration of baptism, there was no personal agenda. He himself never became the focus of mission. He never projected what he said and did was for the way of salvation or the Lord he focused people’s mind and heart or Jesus Christ alone. He pointed out that it is He who will take away our sins. In baptism he directed the attention of people to receive baptism from Jesus and prepared them accordingly.
The second important aspect in his ministry is with regard to humility. Though out his ministry he showed himself and acted as humble servant of God. We see in the Gospel that when the representatives of Jews went to ask him presuming that he was the Messiah or the prophet Elijah, he utterly rejects everything and exhibits himself as humble servant of God. He clearly indicates his mission and nature and humbles to the extent of saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals” (Mt 3:11). These acts of humility are the desired character of any messenger who dedicates himself to the mission of Christ.
The mission of John the Baptist is our mission too and we are called to carry it out with the disposition he had. We are called to bear the name of God with attitude of humility and servitude. St. Paul narrates the humility of Jesus himself saying, “Although he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God but …. he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even death on the cross” (Phil 2:6-8). And Paul says about the result too, “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name…” (Phil 2:9). This would be in our case too. When we humble ourselves before him and entrust ourselves to Him, He would exalt us and usher us in His kingdom. Amen.