Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 15, 2017)

In today’s Gospel the testimony of John the Baptist proclaims that Jesus, the Son of God, comes to take away the sin of the world. St. Francis de Sales remarks:

John the Baptist accepted and proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God. Others refused to acknowledge Jesus as Savior. John the Baptist had great humility. The first step into humility is not to seek to be held or esteemed for what we are not. John the Baptist rejected the honors and titles offered him. He could have led others to himself but instead he recognized Jesus as the Redeemer and pointed others to Him.

Now success can be an excellent thing: if we enjoy and rejoice in it because it gives glory to God, who is the author of our accomplishments. Yet, success and ambition are both capable of seducing the human heart. Unfortunately, our human nature is all too anxious to attract whatever is to its advantage. People seek ways to erect idols and images that are regarded as gods among them. How many of us are greatly taken with worldly elegance, prestige, superiority, and personages? In this we act quite differently from John the Baptist. His spirit was far from that of our times. Walking in humility, he accepted the greatness of Our Lord, and recognized his dependence on the Son of God to guide him.

John the Baptist refused to be moved by pretense. A lover of truth, he suffered martyrdom. While we may not be called to martyrdom, we ought to have the courage to suffer and fight when small temptations present themselves. If we wish to enter the combat against evil, we must be armed with a humility that recognizes our dependence on God’s greatness and goodness. If we wish to grow in divine love, let us begin by imitating John the Baptist in accepting the Master of truth and goodness into our hearts. And then, let us lead others to Our Savior: Light to all nations.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially Sermons, L. Fiorelli, ed.)