Today is the Feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist.
Jesus praised John, saying that ‘no-one born of woman was greater than John the Baptist!
He called people to repentance. He preached conversion and Baptised people as a sign of their repentance, calling all levels of society to come back to God and God’s ways.
He said that one is coming after him greater than him, and that he was not fit to undo his sandal strap! I must decrease and we must increase. He told two of his disciples to go and check out Jesus to see if He is the One, and he let them go to follow Him.
John was a great man in his time, with disciples and followers. He even Baptised Jesus. Yet, he did not hold on to his ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’. His deep desire was to do the will of God and not to push his own interests.
We, as Christians, like John are called to prepare the way for Christ.
By our own actions and way of life we prepare the way for others to meet Christ.
We are called to do this without looking after our own interests first. We are loved unconditionally by God. We have been given freely, and we are called to give freely.
Sometimes I hear of people who stop helping others because they are not appreciated.
I volunteer in the church, but I am not thanked. I help in this charity, but I am taken for granted! Nobody seems to notice how much I do. I’m not seeing any tangible results from the energy I put in trying to help others.
Am I being loved back as much as I am loving?
It is good to ask the question, ‘Why do I do what I do?’ ‘Why do I help others?’.
The subtle and persistent ‘ego’ can get in the way of love.
The reason why we help others needs to be because of love. Love is sufficient unto itself.
Did Jesus say: ‘when you give to the poor (give alms) do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing?’
Our insecure self is forever looking for reassurances that we are important, worthwhile people.
The more we trust in the unconditional love of God, the more we believe that we matter absolutely to God, the freer we become to love, to be who we are meant to be.
When we love freely, when we try to genuinely live the Gospel in our own lives, then we, like John, are preparing the way for others to meet Jesus, just as he did.