Saturday after Epiphany
What is very striking about John the Baptist is his very clear perception of his role in God’s plan and his fidelity to this role up to the end. The very reason for his existence, it seems, is simply that: to be the herald, the precursor of the coming of the Messiah. John could have chosen to play a “bigger role” and not just a herald. He had his own followers that could have backed him up. He had everything it takes to succeed, to shine, and even to play the role of the Messiah. But John remains a ‘mere’ witness to the light, not seeking the spotlight, so to speak.
Many of us undertake our mission or begin our tasks with a clear understanding of our roles. But along the way we somehow change, we shift direction, and we aspire for new roles for ourselves – ‘higher’ or ‘bigger’ than we were given or assigned. And so, from mere “supporting roles” or “second fiddle,” we grab the limelight and present ourselves as the main actors and actresses – the protagonists. Ambitions, privileges, and accolades – all these conspire, at times, to derail us from our original tasks and roles.
“He must increase; I must decrease.” According to Nil Guillemette, humility is the basis for greatness and effectiveness in preaching, teaching or any other work we do for Christ. When we are content to do what God wants us to do and let Christ be honored for it, then God can do great things through us. All the saints were humble; in fact, the holier they were the humbler they were.
In the book Sacred Space (2015), there is this striking reflection: “As I grow older my question is not, ‘Am I qualified enough to show Jesus to people?’ More and more it is: ‘Am I weak enough?’” “Do I accept my failures and the wounds of life as more important than my strengths in witnessing to the Lord Jesus?” “I am a wounded healer. Like my fellow human beings, I, too, am searching and struggling.”
This is an important point for reflection: “Are we weak enough to allow the grace of God to shine through us.” In whatever good we do, we should be transparent enough to point to the source of our goodness – Jesus Christ.