One of the most striking virtues of St. John the Baptist is his humility and devotion to Jesus. He never entertained in his mind to claim to be the Messiah, despite having all the opportunities to do so. He was faithful and radically obedient to his calling, and being like the precursor of Jesus, he readily pointed the people to the Lord.
Today’s is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In the Gospel, we hear John the Baptist respond to the confusion of the people who thought that he might be the Messiah. In reply, John explains the difference that the baptism he performs with the Baptism that Jesus will do: John the Baptist baptized with water, but that someone will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The type of baptism that John performed was not yet a Christian Baptism; it was a preparation for Christian Baptism through which sins are forgiven and the gift of the Holy Spirit is received. All doubts of John, if any, would surely have been cleared after he baptized our Lord. He was a prime witness: heard the voice of the Father, saw the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and stood closely beside Jesus, the Son. The Holy Trinity manifested in the start of Jesus’ public ministry, which confirmed without doubt John’s belief that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
At this early time of the New Year, we are reminded of our own lives that should always point the way to Christ. John pointed to Jesus the people whom he encounted in his preachings. Just like any faithful and loyal soldier of Christ, he never claimed credit to himself. He was consistent and gave glory to God through his humility and simplicity.
This pointing may be a good part of our New Year’s resolution, isn’t it?
When we offer ourselves in service to Christ and the Gospel, we provide an opportunity to point to Christ, whether conscious of it or not. Aside from the Blessed Mother, John is also a perfect model who pointed to Jesus all that happened to him: while he was still inside Elizabeth’s womb, during his own ministry, and up to the time of his death after being imprisoned by Herod.
Given this, can we not also let the happy times, the sad times, our pinnacles and the lowest parts of our lives point us and others to Jesus?
May we remain humble and submissive to the Lord, so that our lives become the message of the Gospel, and point others to Christ. May John’s example inspire us to be true followers of Christ, regardless of the cost.