The good news for the day January 3, 2017
First Christmas weekday (205)
This is what John said publicly about Jesus—when leading Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and religious folk to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted—did not deny it—”I am not the Messiah.” They pressed him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah come back from heaven?” And he replied, “No, I am not.” “Are you the Prophet foretold?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can answer superiors who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “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 more conscious of tradition were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you practice baptism if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I do baptism with water; but there is somebody among you whom you do not recognize, someone coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”. (John 1)
The authentic follower of Jesus avoids labeling—even with the term, “a follower of Jesus.” Faith and commitment are wordless acts of the Spirit, they are not ostentatious proclamations of identification—or even ego.
Notice—Jesus not yet on the scene—John, instead of saying “I am this or that” (kind of practicing religious person)—refers questioners to “other”—the service of tying someone else’s sandals, to a “better person than I am.” That is what you and I do—Notice how the current Pope—and many a saint—refer to prisoners, immigrants, and environment, to washing feet and caring for refugees rather than self. The focus is outside yourself—on “others.” Although someone’s prestige and office are very public, you are a “servant of the servants of God” in a very real sense—in physical service to bodies in need. It is no fiction, fake or mere tradition—a “spiritual but impractical” service. No! It is about PERSONS—about the dignity and respect due each Child of God. So many leaders—religious, political, civil media—think it is just label, title, or name-calling—identification with a group, but it is not–it is what you do for one another—your love for others.