John the Baptist
Third Sunday of Advent
December 14, 2014
JN 1:6-8, 19-28
A key figure in the Advent season is John the Baptist. We met him in Mark’s Gospel last week and we meet him again in John’s gospel this week. Clearly, we are called to pay attention to who he is and what his life tells us. Two facts about him stand out.
First, he was extremely ambitious. He wanted to get things done and done right. He was so ambitious that he refused to let worldly concerns such as, food, clothes, or shelter interfere with his work of calling people to repent. He was the ultimate “motivational speaker”! He was committed to have people discover God and to do the difficult work of self-discovery. He wanted people to progress in their spiritual life by changing the things about themselves that needed to be changed.
Second, in spite of his ambition, he never lost sight of who he was and what he was called to do. He enjoyed the celebrity of a rock star! Jesus described him as “the greatest of men born to woman.” And yet, John’s success did not blind him to his limitations. He did not permit his fame to remind him that he was “the announcer” or the “warm-up act” for the Messiah. And with that role, he was content!
We are now past the halfway mark in our journey toward Christmas. The fourth Advent candle is in plain view. Maybe it would be a good thing to let John the Baptist “motivate” us to finish this last lap around the Advent wreath with the ambition to give ourselves the perfect Christmas gift…the joy of REPENTANCE.
Consider this: When describing John, Jesus said: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. “ (Matt. 11.11) Wow! That includes you and me!
The problem is that the things of this world often blind us to who God created us to be…THE GREATEST! We tend to get so wrapped up in who we think we are, and who WE WANT TO BE that we lose sight of the ambition that God has for us! We let our worldly ambitions cloud the vision that God holds for us.
While it is true that REPENTANCE means acknowledging and seeking forgiveness of our sins, that is only part of the process.
Once we have unwrapped our lives from sin, we are free to do what John the Baptist did. We are free to use what God has given us to further God’s plans for us and for all the lives we touch.
As St. Paul wrote, “BE AMBITIOUS FOR THE GREATEST GIFTS.”
John the Baptist has shown us the way! Now, let’s go light that pink candle and shed a little more light on who we truly are, and what we are called to do so that we can be all that God created us to be.