WORD of the DAY
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Mt. 3: 1-12)
John…the incredible, focused John who was so convinced of his God-given role in the plan of salvation that he gave his whole life for it, both figuratively and literally. John is the cousin of Jesus, only six months older that Him, yet he knew his place in the great scheme of things and he accepted it graciously and totally. He did not try to be the Messiah but was content to prepare the way for him, a voice crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths!’
John had a following of faithful disciples and crowds of people who hung on his words. He baptized many and was not afraid to speak the truth. And he was humble, deeming himself unworthy to carry Jesus’ sandals. When Jesus came, he sent his disciples to Him and did not hang on to them.
What an example for this time of introspection and reflection! So many examples to imitate in John: his humility first of all; his total selflessness; his detachment; his zeal; his acceptance of his role; his ability to withdraw to the background when his mission was fulfilled. Yes, ‘he is the greatest born of women’, as Jesus would affirm.
As we continue on our Advent journey and in our Novena to Mary Immaculate, let us ask Mary to instill in us Her spirit and that of John as well, that we may serve the Lord in any way He deems, whether it is to shine or to be in the shadows; whether it is to accomplish great things or to do the humble tasks no one sees.
The voice of Cardinal Jean Danielou, SJ, Theologian & Historian
True happiness of life consists in having found one’s rightful place, the place that God wants, no matter what that place might be.