In the Gospel passage for today, we hear St. John the Baptist state straightforwardly that he is not the Christ. Instead he claims to be a simple voice of one crying out in the desert. In other words, if you are looking for the Messiah, look somewhere else.
John’s behavior is something we could all emulate. Others were directing their attention toward him, making him the focus of attention. He puts them off and tries to recede into the shadows. In an age when we see others trying to be the “star of the show,” John’s example lets us know that this is not the way that a true follower of Jesus Christ should act. Instead of getting people to focus their attention on us, we should guide them to focusing their attention on Jesus.
There are about ten or eleven more days left in this Christmas Season. The readings will constantly remind us that this mystery of the Incarnation cannot simply be put into a box and stored until next year. Unlike the Christmas decorations which will come down in a few weeks, the mystery of the Incarnation pulls us to draw ever closer to the One who loved us so much as to become one of us. Within the first hundred years of the life of the Church, untruths began to raise their ugly heads to deny the truth of the Incarnation. Jesus is God and yet completely human. While our human language is inadequate to explain the mystery, our hearts and our minds can accept the truth and cherish it just as Mary cherished in her heart and reflected in her mind on all of the things that happened in Bethlehem so many years ago. Like John the Baptist, we are to point the way to Jesus.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator