“Voice from the Wilderness”
John 1:6-8, 19-28
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Eli′jah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Eli′jah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John the Baptist was an amazing and humble man. He boldly proclaimed the Kingdom of God, yet was not power-hungry when it came to his followers like the priests and Levites. He did not bring glory for himself, and his message was clear, “I am not the Christ.” He knew he wasn’t Christ nor Elijah, but just the one crying out in the desert to make the way for the one coming after him. He also called people to repent and baptized with water, but performed no physical healing miracles.
We too are not the Christ. We can’t heal or perform miracles. We can not save ourselves or others. We can not do mighty works on our own. Those things can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ! What you can do is live a holy life like John. You can point others to Jesus by praying for them, talking with them and bringing them to Church. What a blessing it is to point others to the Light!
Our priest’s are very much like modern-day John the Baptist’s. They stand before their congregations and preach the Good News. They take a vow of poverty. They should be humble, upright men who are not afraid to speak with the people about the love of Christ, no matter who the sinner is. They also should not be afraid to call a sin a sin. Not all priest’s model themselves this way but they should. Pray for your priests that they are able to boldly speak about the Kingdom of God, yet be humble to make themselves be lesser so that Christ may be greater.
My God, thank you for sending John the Baptist ahead of my Lord, Jesus, to help make straight the way of the Lord. Help me to point others to your Light. Please help make my path straight as I listen and follow the way given to me by Pope Francis, and my priests (insert names). Bless them in their ministry, that they always point their congregations to You. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.