Today we meet John the Baptist, one of the pivotal characters of the Advent Season. John was the last and the greatest of all the prophets who prepared the people for the coming of the Messiah. John was a shining star, dominating the scene, and enjoyed great popularity. People flocked to the Jordan River to see him and hear him preach. However, John knew that a greater light was coming.
When that light finally appeared in the person of Jesus, John knew that his mission was done. John welcomed the light when he boldly pointed out to the crowd and proclaimed, “There is the Lamb of God!” John knew that Jesus was far greater than himself and he humbly stepped aside and allowed Jesus to shine. That took greatness on the part of John, and Jesus recognized him for it, saying, “No man born of women is greater than John the Baptist.”
To step aside for another person calls for humility and generosity. In fact, it calls for a kind of dying to self. At times in life we are called to do just that.
Parents spend the best years of their lives preparing the way for their children, in the sense of opening them to life. But then there comes a time when they have to step aside so that their children can come into their own. Having given life to their children, parents must allow them to live that life. It can be very difficult to do but serves as a reminder that children are on loan to them by God. They must be given the opportunity to develop roots to grow and wings to fly!
People are tempted to love the limelight, to dominate others and relegate them to the shadows. As a result a lot of light is lost to the world. We must try to shine to the best of our ability, while being careful not to block the path for others. We also must be conscious of the debt of gratitude we owe to others who prepared the way for us.
We can even make the same mistake with God. We can sometimes act as if it was our work that matters and make too much of ourselves. Whereas it may be a question of getting ourselves out of the way and allowing God to take over.
Jesus is the one who opened the way of salvation for each one of us. We must make it our aim to walk in his light and avoid being a source of darkness to anyone. The only way to find peace and happiness is to forget ourselves and love others.
May this Season of Advent find us helping others to let their light shine so that the darkness in our world will continue to be scattered. A blessed Advent journey!
― Fr. Dennis, December 10, 2017