REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
December 6, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.” Mark 1:7
The voice of God breaks into our world through sacred Scripture and the witness of modern-day disciples. Does it resound and echo in our thoughts, words, and actions, forming and shaping our lives? Or, is it dulled and dimmed by our worldly ways? Now is the time to listen, now is the time to act, for the kingdom of God is at hand. John the Baptist heralds the coming of Jesus as he exhorts his listeners to turn away from sin and be baptized. In our gospel reference, he acknowledged his unworthiness before Jesus.
John the Baptist was considered by Jesus as one of the greatest human beings ever to walk the face of the Earth (see Matthew 11:11). Yet in our gospel reference today, John states clearly that he is not even worthy to “stoop and loosen the thongs” of Jesus’ sandals. This is humility to the greatest extent!
What made St. John the Baptist so great? Was it his powerful preaching? His dynamic and attractive personality? His way with words? His good looks? His numerous followers? Certainly it was none of the above. That which made John truly great was the humility with which He pointed everyone to Jesus.
One of the greatest human struggles in life is pride. We tend to want to draw attention to ourselves. Most people struggle with a tendency to tell others how good they are and why they are right. We want attention, recognition and praise. We often struggle with this tendency because self-elevation has a way of making us feel important. And such a “feeling” feels good, to an extent. But what our fallen human nature often fails to recognize is that humility is one of the greatest attributes we can have and is, by far, the greatest source of greatness in life.
Humility is found clearly in these words and actions of John the Baptist in the passage above. He knew who Jesus was. He pointed to Jesus and turned the eyes of his followers from himself to his Lord. And it is this act of pointing others to Christ that has the double effect of elevating him to a greatness that self-centered pride can never achieve.
What could be greater than the act of pointing others to the Savior of the World? What could be greater than helping others to discover their purpose in life by coming to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior? What could be greater than exhorting others to a life of selfless surrender to the one and only God of mercy? What could be greater than elevating the Truth over the selfish lies of our fallen human nature?
Reflect, today, upon your calling in life to imitate the humility of John the Baptist. If you want your life to have true value and meaning, then use your life to elevate the Savior of the World to the greatest extent possible in the eyes of those around you. Point others to Jesus, make Jesus the central focus of your life and humble yourself before Him. In this act of humility, your true greatness will be discovered and you will find the central purpose of life.
My glorious Lord, You and You alone are the Savior of the World. You and You alone are God. Give me the wisdom of humility that I may dedicate my life to pointing others to You so that many will come to know You as their true Lord and God. I am not worthy of You, my Lord. Yet in Your mercy, You use me anyway. I thank You and dedicate my life to the proclamation of Your holy name. Jesus, I trust in You.