This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing. JN 1:19-28
As we begin John’s Gospel, we have the first of 4 testimonies of John the Baptist. Today, being the first testimony, a negative testimony of himself for “the one coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie”. The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in today’s Gospel, “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” As the new year has begun, a fresh start upon us, how will we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Second Coming. Who will you listen too (media, social networking, news or God’s Word in the Scriptures)? Who will you follow and worship (your cell phone and electronics or more time in prayer and worship with God)? John the Baptist ushers the Savior of the World into the world. Do you believe?
Today is the feast of two great Doctors of the Church, St. Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzen. I would like to share one story of St. Basil today.
“As bishop, Basil was a courageous and heroic champion of the Catholic faith against the Arian heresy (denied the divinity of Jesus). In 372 Emperor Valens sent Modestus, the prefect, to Cappadocia to introduce Arianism as the state religion. Modestus approached the holy bishop, upbraided him for his teaching, and threatened despoliation, exile, martyrdom, and death. To these words of the Byzantine despot, Basil replied with the peace of divine faith: “Is that all? Nothing of what you mentioned touches me. We possess nothing, we can be robbed of nothing. Exile will be impossible, since everywhere on God’s earth I am at home. Torments cannot afflict me, for I have no body. And death is welcome, for it will bring me more quickly to God. To a great extent I am already dead; for a long time I have been hastening to the grave.” Astonished, the prefect remarked: “Till today no one has ever spoken to me so courageously.” “Perhaps,” rejoined Basil, “you have never before met a bishop.” Modestus hastened back to Valens. “Emperor,” he said, “we are bested by this leader of the Church. He is too strong for threats, too firm for words, too clever for persuasion.” Catholic Culture.org
Today’s challenge: Make straight the path for Jesus in your life. Be vulnerable to God and ask Jesus to consume you.
Become a saint!