If there is a word that characterizes John the Baptist, the word is humility. In today’s gospel he humbled himself before Jesus and proclaimed him the “Son of God”. How awesome is that? Can you be humble to the point of lowering yourself and claiming Jesus as the son of God? But there is a catch. It is the catch that most religions have missed: we can recite and proclaim Jesus as Lord, but would our friends recognize his presence in our lives?
While doing confessions I hear over and over again that people fail to follow his footsteps, and I am not talking about big things, but small things like forgiving our parents, or family members.
I have discovered that for the majority of the people that go to Church, Jesus is definitely NOT the center of their lives. I have seen people fighting in the parking lot of the church, and let me not even mention the many people who sit in different pews in order to avoid “undesirable” people.
The difference between us and John the Baptist is that he meant every word he said. He lived his life as a servant of God. He walked the walk and talked the talk. The reason he was able to see the sins of others was because he saw his sins first. He was able to claim his own sinful nature (I am not worthy to untie…). He recognized his own ignorance (Are you the messiah or should we expect someone else?). He saw his own limitations (my baptism is not enough, someone else will come…). He developed an eye for the divine (I saw a dove come down from heaven). In other words he possessed the power of discrimination/discernment. And even though he was so great, he lived a simple life and did because of what he believed.
Your life does not have to be complicated; it can be lived in the presence of God. So, when you get up, make sure that you dedicate your day to Him, when you go to bed, make sure you give Him your soul in case you do not wake up. When your children or friends leave the house, bless them and send angels behind them, in case they encounter an accident. In other words, make sure that Jesus is part of your everyday life, including your mistakes and angry moments. He understands he created you; He is with you all the time, so why not recognize him and greet him throughout the day?
John was a simple man and in his simplicity he became one of the greatest saints that ever walked the earth. You may not aspire to be a saint, but you can surely aspire to have a better relationship with God. So go ahead, take a moment and say a nice prayer of gratitude. Let him fill your heart. Be at peace and know that he is with you at all times.
Fr. Marc Angelo, PO Box 3414, Culver City, CA 90231
Mass every Sunday at 6:00pm at St. Mary’s in Palms 3647 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3914
Every last Sunday of the month mass in Spanish at 4:00 pm and English at 6:00 pm.