“I AM THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING OUT IN THE DESERT,‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD.’” JN 1:19-28
Humbly submit your will to God (thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary.
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 Church calendar year has begun, a fresh start upon us, how will we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Second Coming? Life is difficult. Change is hard. Humans can’t fix their problems, they need a Savior. Jesus is that Savior and he forces us to make a decision. The Devil is deceiving. So without false hope and trying to make real change to grow closer to Christ this year we can learn something from John the Baptist.
What I have learned is to prayerfully reflect on one small change I can make that will make a big change. Changes that have made the biggest impact in my life are 2 minutes of silence, waking early to pray, 5-10 minutes a day to make a Marian consecration, and saying a rosary while exercising.
These small changes were graces from God I received while kneeling before a crucifix on a hard surface and listening to what Christ has to say. I also began to put rocks in my shoes on Fridays to suffer with the Lord. Then God’s grace influenced me to read and reflect on the Mass readings each morning.
I found myself desiring Adoration more often-starting with short visits more often. I then began to desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist by adding a daily Mass to my weekly schedule. I found myself never being able to get enough of God’s grace and developing a personal relationship with Him. Finally, I began to put a spiritual book in my final resting place each night. I try to read a chapter of a spiritual book each day and pray as a family.
I am sure the Holy Spirit has revealed other ways to grow closer to Christ. Listen and change slowly expecting challenges and failure. God can do anything with His grace to make an impact on your life. It can be a huge punch, but most often it is very slow and subtle.
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.
Be a servant, be a saint today!