O God, You have chosen the apostles to make disciples of all nations and by baptism and confirmation have called all of us to build up Your Holy Church.
oday’s Gospel reading about Saint John the Baptist reminded me about a painting of the crucifixion in a theologian’s office. It showed John, with a long bony finger, pointing to Jesus. One day a visitor asked him, "What is your job?" The theologian walked over to the painting and said, "I am that finger."
Friends, do our lives point people to Christ? Or do they turn them away from Him? Before you answer, remember what Gandhi said, "I would have become a Christian if ever I had met one."
On this second week of Advent, St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, wants us to meditate on how effectively we carry out our mission as pointers to Christ? We have heard many times our spiritual life is like a pilgrimage to God.
Writer, Elizabeth Vanek says, "Advent is the season of the pilgrim God ... We often speak of our journey towards God, but in reality, it is God who does most of the traveling." But the last four miles he leaves to us. How is our journey to Bethlehem progressing? Do we deviate from our Journey to Bethlehem? St. John the Baptist, reminds us, "to repent, do a self-examination, and see what we missed the way."
We may wonder why should we repent—to reach God? Repentance helps us to realize our strength and weakness. It will also make us humble to accept our weaknesses. And it is our experience that we cannot come out of certain weaknesses on our own.
We need the grace of God. This is the reason why St. Paul used to cry out, "I have a thorn in my body; I wish it were gone, but your grace is enough for me." Our sincere repentance helps us to understand the need of God’s grace in our life. That is the reason why church calls us to repent during this season of Advent. We need His grace to reach Him.
Our pride, our crookedness may say ... "I can reach there without anyone’s help." This is the reason why St. John the Baptist says, "... straighten those crooked attitudes, level the mountains, or you will miss the way."
Let us see what all weaknesses we need to change from our lives to become an effective pointers to Christ. Are these: pride, hatred, anger, resentment, rash judgment?
Lord our weaknesses are many. We need your grace to help us to repent of our weaknesses, and by Your grace, help us to be effective pointers to Bethlehem. May God bless us all.