IS 11:1-10, ROM 15:4-9, MT 3:1-12
“A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths..” (IS 40:3)
#523 “St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.196 “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.197 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.”
We all want to be recognized for the work we do. While our humility may be strong and we do not make it about us, there are times our humanness gets in the way. John the Baptist knew his role was always to prepare people for Someone who would be greater than him. After all, it is arguable that John was the witness to the first miracle when he “leapt in the womb” of Elizabeth (LK 1:41), recognizing Christ’s presence, at her meeting with Mary.
In sports, we usually remember who had the game winning shot, touchdown, goal or however the method of victory is accomplished. However, rarely do we remember who passed it to the other person or set them up for victory.
John the Baptist is a Saint, but he was also the guy who simply prepared the way. In our lives, there are times we are going to be asked to simply be the person who just sets up the ultimate plan God has for another. Let it not make us bitter. Instead, let us be proud that Christ trusts us so much to handle the work that build a house on a foundation of stone so it can last forever. (MT 7:24)
Heavenly Father, I know I am your child and you know my purpose better than anyone and certainly better than I know myself. Guide me to share in the humility of John the Baptist to help lead others to you in whatever way you need to use me. Forgive me for the times I have been selfish to focus on my need for recognition, rather than the beauty of your presence being the ultimate gift. Let it be done unto me Lord as you wish. ~Amen
Think of a time recently that made you feel hurt, angry, disappointed or any other emotion because you were not recognized for your good works. Whether it was at work, making a family dinner or coordinating something larger to help others that made you feel this way, close your eyes and offer your feelings to God. Next time you are in this situation, try to see the best way you can find peace simply knowing everything is being done with the right intention for the best possible outcome.
Do a random act of kindness anonymously without the possibility of receiving credit at all. Maybe it’s as small as buying a cup of coffee for the next car in the drive through or as large as sharing a donation with a family in need within your neighborhood. After you complete the act, spend a few minutes in prayer for the recipient to feel the love of God’s grace through your deed.