Daily Reflection – 1/3/20
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God. (John 1:19-34)
John the Baptist is alive! He is alive whenever we think of repentance – whenever we think about that which we must do to know Christ in our life – today and for eternity.
His message is just as relevant for us today as it was some 2,000 years ago. At the time he walked the Earth, he preached so as to prepare the immediate way for Christ. He prepared the way for the Messiah to physically enter into our world and present us with the gift of eternal salvation. But John continues to prepare the way for the Lord, if we are willing to listen.
John the Baptist had a very clear sense of who he is and who he is not, of his role in manifesting God’s work on earth, of God’s presence and revelation when he sees it, and of his life’s work as a testimony to that revelation. He baptizes not to cleanse people from sin but to witness to God’s presence in the world.
The John the Baptist we find in John’s Gospel shows how what we do reveals to others what we believe. Have we reflected on our individual identities enough to have a sense of the talents we have, and those we do not have, to carry on the work of God in our own particular contexts? Are we aware of the sort of God we reveal to the world by our words and actions? Do our acts witness to a God who takes away that which alienates people from God and each other, and does so not by militant violence but by sacrifice? Do they reveal a God who remains present in the world?
Every day there is a mirror held up to our soul. Every day the way we live our life testifies to how truly we believe in the presence of Christ in our lives. Every day is a reflection of whether we are Christian in name only or a true committed follower of Christ.
Think about your words today. Think about your actions today. A committed follower of Christ ends his/her day by reflection on whether he/she brought alive the words of Jesus Christ.
It is not only about attending Church. We know that. Yes, we are strengthened and confirmed by the communal presence of Christ. Yes, when we gather around the table to receive Communion, we are confirmed on the purpose of our journey.
But what happens 8 hours later? Twenty-four hours later? Two days later? What do you reflect? You? Or you plus Him?
Or do our acts witness to a different sort of God altogether? The presentation of John the Baptist in John 1:19-34 challenges us to examine how our actions testify to our beliefs and what beliefs it is that they present to the world.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, You came into this world out of perfect love for me. You came to save me from all sin and You came to deliver me from all evil. Help me to see that which has kept me from You this past year and to surrender it to You. Help me also to have hope and vision for all that awaits and to all which You are calling me. May I heed the words of the Baptist and make the road ahead straight so that I can follow Your perfect will. Jesus, I trust in You.
We learn from John that the first step to a life of holiness is to “make straight the way of the Lord.” How do we do this? How do we make straight the way of the Lord? We do it by humbly admitting those sins which get in the way of Jesus coming to us and transforming our lives.
Reflect, today, upon the year that is past as well as the year to come. What is it that you need to let go of from the past and what is it that you need to focus on for the coming year? Make a clear resolution to identify any obstacle to the coming of Christ into your heart and let yourself discover the new life that awaits you this coming year.