Daily Reflection – 2/4/2022
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.” But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.” Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. His own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (Mark 6:14-29)
When we look at the life of St. John the Baptist, we see someone who was the greatest of all the prophets speaking the word of God. He showed us to live what he was preaching, namely to repent and believe, to make straight the paths of the Lord, and to follow him when at last he indicated him as the Lamb of God. He showed us how to die in fidelity to the Lord until the end. His faith has always been placed forward for us to imitate, so that, like him, we might point out the Lord, allow him to increase as we decrease, with gratitude that even though we’re not worthy to untie his sandals, he has made us worth of so much more.
John lived his life to point others to God. He was part of God’s plan to send his son to earth. I believe that John knew that. He got out of the way and let God work through him. He understood that his life was to play a supporting role. He knew that he was part of God’s plan.
That’s true for us as well. We are all part of hs plan but many times we spend so much time caught up in the drama of our lives that we forget that God is using each of us.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is get out of the way.
You see, God is acting in our lives and in our world, but we cannot be a part of that action if we become stuck on ourselves. And believe me there are a lot of ways to become stuck on ourselves. We can become stuck because we think we are so important. We can become stuck because we believe that we are worthless. We can become stuck because we think we are so holy. We can become stuck because we believe we are such sinners. We can become stuck because everyone admires us. We can become stuck because everyone ignores us.
Through all of this, John the Baptist says, “It is not about you! Get out of the way!” How do you become a good parent? By being present, by being loving, by being wise. But also, by believing that God loves your children even more than you do and that God is already leading them to growth. How do we become successful in business? We do our research and act with integrity. But also believe that whatever we do is somehow being used by God as a part of a greater plan. How do we decide which college we should attend? We visit the schools and talk to family and friends. But thne we trust that God will lead us to the right place.
If God were simply a creation of our own minds, then we would be in charge. But God is real, powerful and active. That is why we need to keep reminding ourselves, “I am not the prophet. I am not Elijah. I am not the Christ. I am a voice crying out, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord’”.
Make ready, then. Set yourself aside, and let Christ come through you/
Prayer of The Day
“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the Gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.”
Fundamental to Jesus’ larger vision is the conviction that we are all connected to one another, that the joys of any person are my joys too, that the need and pain of any person are also my concern. This is why Jesus keeps stretching us to recognize our connection to the least among us. This why every Christian needs to learn that it’s not about me. It’s about us.