9th —10th December, 2017
I remember being out on my early morning walk one cold winter’s day. The sun had just come up. As I walked along I noticed also that the moon was in the sky, pale against the sun I could just see it. Through the night the moon was bright and beautiful and dominated the sky, its faithful light had seen people through the darkness of the night. Now overcome by the sun it paled into insignificance, it had been pushed into the background. It was like the faithful candle made redundant by electric light.
The moon reminds us of the Old Testament prophets, who had kept alive the hopes of the people during the long night of expectation. It was thanks to them – the flame never went out.
John the Baptist was the last and greatest of these. He worked tirelessly to bring his light to the people. He once dominated the scene, enjoying great popularity, but he was always conscious that a greater light was coming.
When that light appeared in the person of Jesus he knew his task was done. He didn’t hinder or seek to delay the advent of the new light. He welcomed it. We can learn from John:
- He devoted his heart and soul to a great task.
- He was a living example of what he preached.
- We can learn from his humility. He recognised that Jesus was more important than he was. He was only the moon; Jesus was the sun. He stepped aside and allowed Jesus to shine.
- We can learn from his generosity of spirit.
- We can learn from his courage. He died a martyr’s death, his last and greatest act of witness to Jesus.
In John we see commitment, self-discipline, self-sacrifice, humility, generosity of spirit and courage. These are great virtues. Virtues like these build a Christian character. To make way for another person is not easy. It calls for a dying to self.
Parents spend the best years of their lives preparing the way for their children, and unselfishly they step back so that their children can come into their own.
All of us are tempted to hug the limelight, sometimes we relegate others to the shadows. As a result people feel oppressed and a lot of light is lost to the world. We must be careful not to block the light of others and be conscious of the debt we owe to others who prepared the way for us.
Jesus is the light of the world. To those disciples who saw and recognised his light he said: ‘I tell you, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and didn’t see it. (Mt 13:16-17). Jesus opened the way to salvation for all of us. We must strive to walk in his light and avoid being a source of darkness to anyone – John the Baptist said :- Look there is the Lamb of God!!!
Love and prayers – take care one and all.