For He must increase, and I must decrease (Jn 3:30).
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, the signpost for the Messiah.
The other day I had an appointment in New York City. Unlike many, I do not mind driving to and from Manhattan. The tricky part can be parking.
At many of the parking lots in New York, there will invariably be a parking attendant who will stand on the sidewalk or near the street waving a red flag. He will try to sweep you in to his parking lot. It is a very effective tool, one that helps fill the parking lot as fast as possible. I suppose it can also be helpful to us because it helps us get our cars into a parking spot and out of traffic and on to where we are going, our destinies for the day.
This image reminds me of Saint John the Baptist. He is not the messiah, but the forerunner of the Christ. He comes not to save, but to point us to the one who saves. He comes not to move mountains, but to make our paths straight so that Jesus can be present to us. John is calling us to grace so that our beings can receive Jesus, the true and just God for all.
Saint John the Baptist prepares us to be vessels for the Lord so that His salvation may reach the ends of the earth as we hear in our First Reading today from Isaiah 49:6.
In Acts, our Second Reading (13:22-26), we hear that John is the herald of our savior, Jesus. John baptizes us in repentance to clear out our souls so that they may be made ready to receive our Lord.
In the Gospel we hear of the birth of John and his naming. His parents are Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin Mary's cousin and Zechariah, both descendants of the priestly tribes of Israel. In fact, Zechariah is given the prophecy of the birth of the Baptist while conducting his priestly duties in the inner sanctum of the Temple at the tabernacle of the Lord.
Today we should reflect on John's great words that come to us from Saint John's Gospel, "For He must increase, and I must decrease" (Jn 3:30).
Many times in our lives it is our way or the highway. We act in a way that is not selfless, interdependent and life giving. We sometimes live not ordered to God, but to ourselves.
Let us then rejoice at the birth of Saint John the Baptist, who great as he was, points us to Christ who is the Way the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). Let us resolve to be people for others, signposts for Christ, helping those find in Him the place of sanctity and truth, comfort and consolation and ultimately, a profound depth of eternal joy.