Saturday, January 10, 2009

Being truly humble

"So they came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him. John answered and said, 'No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease.'" (Jn 3:22-30)

The Catholic Dictionary defines humility this way: "Humility is the supernatural virtue by which one attains the correct perception of one's relationship with God." Another way of putting it is that humility is having a correct understanding of who God is, of who you are, and not confusing the two.

In our Gospel passage today, we have a perfect example of this form of humility in the person of John the Baptist. Now, the John we encounter today is not the typical image of John that we are used to. John is usually presented to us as a bit wild - dressed in camel hair, eating locusts and honey, hand raised in the air screaming "Repent!" Today, John gives us an image of himself that is very different. He refers to himself as Jesus bestman, embracing the celebratory language of the wedding feast.

But, notice his humility. His followers are bothered by what is going on. They want to know what this Jesus is up to. They are in effect saying, "Hey, this Jesus is stealing your show. You're the baptizer! Are you going to let this happen?" The typical human response might be one of envy or jealousy or a competitive spirit.

But, John, has attained "a correct perception of his relationship with God." In his humility, John is not threated by Jesus and His growing popularity. John fully understands his role as the one who prepares the way. He knows clearly who he is before God.

When, in humility, we can eliminate the envy, jealousy and competitiveness that consume us so often, we are left with something very different - joy! When John hears of what Jesus is doing, he isn't consumed by jealously, instead he says, "My joy is complete." As John sees Jesus growing fully into His identity, this brings great joy to John.

And, of course, so it should be for us. We pray that we may follow the example of the Baptist and attain a correct perception of our relationship with God. Let us discover who we are in God's sight and rejoice in the discovery of our brothers and sisters in God's sight as well.

Let us pray for the virtue of humility.

May God give you peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment