Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
John the Baptist’s greatness and the reason he has such an important place in our Advent liturgy is because he prepared the way for Christ.
The work of the one who prepares the way for another is finished when the expected one arrives; and John suggested as much when he said of Jesus, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
John was aware of the fact that he himself was not the Messiah, though many thought he was. He also knew that he could not provide all that the people needed and wanted: the more perfect baptism of spirit and fire was yet to come.
John is an example to us that our contribution only goes so far and that each of us is incomplete and in need of a savior. That humility is excellent preparation for receiving Christ.
May we imitate John not only in his anticipation of Christ but in his humble acknowledgment of his own need for the one who alone gives us life and purpose, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Reflection by Abbot Benedict Neenan, OSB