This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, "Who are you?"
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
"I am not the Christ."
So they asked him,
"What are you then? Are you Elijah?"
And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
So they said to him,
"Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord,'
as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
"Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them,
"I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
I actually had the privilege of having my whole family present for this reflection. There are six of us, my son is the oldest and then there are three girls, my husband and myself. We read the Gospel and took some time to think and then started asking questions.
What stands out to you in this living Gospel? This was the first question we pondered. The Words, when spoken or read come to life in our minds and bring about thoughts that can heal us or even help us to grow Spiritually.
My son was the first to give his thoughts. He said that the verse, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” is what stood out to him. He said that the fact that John the Baptist considered himself well below Jesus, by saying he was not fit to even untie His sandal strap, shows humility, but more importantly that he was very passionate about making sure everyone knew Jesus was most important, not him.
Our discussion continued on this topic with our next question. How does this pertain to us and our lives?
My daughters chimed in by saying that humility is a virtue that we should all strive to have, but humility is not accepted in todays world as something that is valuable.
Who in their right mind today would actually want to accept humiliations in their life so they can work on the virtue of humility? Only someone like St. John the Baptist would go searching out this virtue.
There is a quote by St. Augustine that states:
“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”
And St. John Vianney would teach that: “We should daily ask God with our whole hearts for humility.”
My husband agreed with the girls that we need to strive for humility. We should remain humble and recognize that our gifts come from God. That is what St. John the Baptist recognized that others could not see, that God is everything and the only importance in our lives.
Let us all pray for each other to put God first in our lives just like St. John the Baptist.
May God bless us all.