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DO WE UNDERSTAND JOHN THE BAPTIST'S BURNING AMBITION?

Father Francis's picture

1 Jn. 5:14-21 & Jn. 3:22-30

We who belong to God are being encouraged by Saint John in today's first reading to pray confidently to Him, for He will hear us if whatever we ask of Jesus is in accordance with His will. That is good news that we should never forget!

We have recently celebrated the feast of Christmas, after the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. This means that the amount of daylight is increasing each day, a symbol of Christ the Light coming into the world. By contrast the birth of John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24 after the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. Following his birth the amount of daylight decreases, as a symbol of John's words, "I must decrease."

Most people regard ambition as a natural incentive. To want to be first or the best is viewed as normal and surely the obvious way to get ahead in the world. John the Baptist shows us a value which is just the opposite. His only ambition was to step aside so that Jesus could become first in the hearts of his own disciples. He wanted people to see that following Jesus, and not himself, was the best thing that could happen to them.

John the Baptist indicates to us an important aspect of our Christian vocation. We should at all times focus a light on Jesus and not on ourselves. When we do good for others, we should do so with the intention that they see the goodness of Christ within us.

Lord Jesus, when people praise us we should politely let them know that any talent we may have is a gift from You, to whom the credit is due.

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