Fr. Michael's Thoughts on Biblical Imagery: Come and See




            We were gifted with the privilege to live at our births and as we live we witness the various gifts and wonders God has blessed our world with. If I am to list them there may not be enough space for them here, but reading today’s gospel passage I came to the understanding that it is true that among people born of women none is greater than St. John the Baptist.

            I hold a personal philosophy that the measure of a person’s greatness may not solely rest on his/her personal life’s achievements and talents but rather it may be about the person finding room in him or herself to appreciate and glorify God in the gifts and talents of others. For some people, their eyes only cast a vision within themselves and if they are to view something outside themselves then they become a measuring rod for that thing or being. And if the thing or being is better than what they see in themselves then they become jealous and envious. Such was the attitude of King Herod when he heard of the new born king of the Jews. Because of jealousy, he killed many infants in his effort to get Jesus killed.

            Thank God that this and other sister stories are not the only stories we encounter in the Bible and in life. Today we have “come to see” the glorious story and testimony of St. John the Baptist. I read with great delight the testimony of St. John when he saw Jesus coming towards him. He said of Jesus “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me…’ How warm and delightful when a person speaks well of another person and appreciate the person’s giftedness. Attitudes like this enhances God’s work on earth and it can promote greatly Christian brotherhood.

            If we can emulate this attitude of St. John in life it will help in our communal growth in the world. Let us take a look at different facets of human living and use “the St. John model” to assess things.

            From the religious perspective if we can appreciate each person’s giftedness we will help to promote God’s kingdom here on earth. During the ministry of Jesus, he admonished his disciples when he discovered the jealousy among them. I get sick when I hear on the airwaves men of God speaking ill of each other because one of them deems himself better than the other. St. John did not speak ill of Jesus when he saw him coming and did not even mind when two of his disciples left to follow Jesus. St. John is a great model for Christian discipleship. The in-fighting among men of God is becoming too much. Parishioners should also stop comparing the gifts of priests because each priest’s gifts serve the particular needs of the body of the Church.

            At times instead of some Christians being content with their gifts, they spend all their time on earth in bitterness because of another person’s gifts. St. John was content with his role that he will baptize only with water but he praised God for giving him the opportunity to prepare the people for a different form of baptism that Jesus will offer them. Jesus was absolutely right that among those born of women none is greater than St John the Baptist.

            God’s glory is seen when brothers and sisters live in unity and appreciate one another’s gifts. Of this the Psalmist will say: “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.” I pray that God will help us to live in such an environment.

            If religious people are struggling to live up to expectations especially along the path of the St John model, then what can we expect from people of the “world?” I observe always with disgust the ugly and harmful competition between our political actors. Democracy has become the dominant system of governance in our world. Democracy as a system is good but some political actors have tainted it with their human waywardness. At times the parties involved in democratic governance operate in this way: ‘if in opposition pray that the ruling government will fail so that you will be given the chance by the electorate…and the other way seem true.’ Now, tell me how can we grow our common home with this attitude?

            St. John the Baptist has given us a good example. We Christians need to embrace this good example, live it out and bring it to all facets of life. If we can promote the common good of our world then we need to live as good Christians as such. As Christians I pray that the words of the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading can be our life’s description. The Prophet Isaiah said: “The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength…I will make a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

            Are you ready to live your life for the Lord? Then join the Psalmist by saying: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” And yes, I believe that together we can make this world a better place to live. St. John the Baptist has given us a great example worthy of emulation. OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP PRAY FOR US.



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