“May St John the Baptist, become an inspiration and a challenge, as we march forward in this New Year 2021”
(Based on 1 Jn 2:22-28 and Jn 1:19-28 – 2nd January)
One of the most common & natural styles of engaging in a conversation with a stranger, is getting to “know more” about the person.
This process to “getting to know more” about the person includes:
…getting to know His/Her name…
…getting to know His/Her occupations…
…getting to know His/Her interests and likings…
The Gospel of the Day is an introduction to the person of John the Baptist.
An attempt is made to “know more” about John…
His name… His occupations… His interests and liking.
We are on the second day of the New Year.
The last one week has been a time of hectic activities and festive spirit…
We were treated to many sermons, reflections and thoughts on the Word of God.
We were feasting on a variety of good food, tasty delicacies and classic sweets.
We were enjoying many moments of fun, frolic, laughter and happiness.
But today onwards, things tend to “appear” to be ordinary and “normal”.
The time, after a grand celebration or a festive mood, can be always dangerous and dodgy…
… it can lead to extended period of laxity or slackness.
… it can remove the zing of enthusiasm and energy.
… it can cause one to creep into a mode of taking things for granted.
And so, the Gospel of the Day presents to us the message of not slipping into negligence or casualness….
… Rather, seeks to keep up our spirits high, and to be on the vigilance always.
People with great enthusiasm always tend to brush the energy onto others.
People with a passionate zeal always make a positive impact on the other.
People with a fighting spirit always rub on the vigour into other people.
And such a person… is John the Baptist.
The Fourth Gospel introduces the person of St John the Baptist to us.
He is a person of great enthusiasm, of a passionate zeal and of a fighting spirit.
Some Priests and Levites came to him to ask, “Who are you” (Jn 1: 19)
John the Baptist was quite clear and convinced of the answer to this question.
He admitted that he was not the Messiah. (Jn 1: 20)
He admitted that he was not Elijah. (Jn 1: 21)
He admitted that he was not the Prophet. (Jn 1: 21)
He testified that he was the voice crying in the desert. (Jn 1: 23)
He testified that he was the one exhorting to ‘make straight the way of the Lord’. (Jn 1:23)
He testified that he was the witness to the Light that was coming to enlighten the world. (Jn1: 8)
He testified that the One coming after him was ranking ahead of him (Jn 1: 15)
A deep conviction of “who he was” guided all the actions of John the Baptist.
A powerful knowledge of “his role in life” was the strength of mission for John the Baptist.
A clear cut awareness of “what was his mission” was the secret of success for John the Baptist.
Do I possess such kind of a deep and “anchored” conviction in my Christian Life?
John the Baptist was questioned, “Who are you” by many people.
He had an answer for it…
… and that made Him not to waver or get bogged down by situations.
Life often throws this question to us – “Who are you?”
When we face emotional crisis in our relationships and social interactions, we are encountered with this question, deep within us…
… “Who are you?”
When things in life do not go the way we wished or expected and somehow the future appears bleak, we are encountered with this question, deep within us…
… “Who are you?”
When in the castle of interiority, we experience a barrenness and a feeling of isolation from the Lord, we are encountered with this question, deep within us …
… “Who are you?”
Failing to find an answer to this question, can sometimes….
… plunge us into a deep struggle
… make us to fear life and people
…. crush our hopes and aspirations.
We may tend to think…
… “What really is the purpose of my life??
… “Why should I continue to life in this manner?”
… “I wish I could just be free from all this web of pain and tensions!”
Yes, life will at many times, throw this question at us – “Who are you?”
Today, St John the Baptist, exhorts & challenges us, to not get too disturbed when we are faced with this provoking question in life.
Our faith and strength, like St John the Baptist, ought to be Jesus, the Light.
Our hope and courage, like St John the Baptist, ought to be Jesus, the Messiah.
I am God’s Child….
… in this is my true identity.
I am the witness to the True Light…
… in this is my true role in life.
I am a Voice in the wilderness…
… in this is my Christian duty and obligation.
I am dependant on the Grace and Mercy of the Lord…
… in this is my authentic hope and faith.
May St John the Baptist, whom we have come to “know more” today, become an inspiration and a challenge, as we march forward…
… with faith and love
… through the valleys and mountains
… and wilderness and oasis
Of the New Year 2021
God Bless! Live Jesus!
- Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism: GOD’S LOVE CREATED US AND INVITES US FREELY SHARE A LIFE IN HIM: God, Infinitely Perfect and Blessed in Himself, in a plan of Sheer Goodness, freely created man to make him share in His Own Blessed Life.
For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to human beings. He calls them to seek Him, to know Him, to love Him with all his strength.