Spiritual readings for Sunday 10th of December
04 December 2017 CGI news
Week of December 4th (reference: readings for Sunday 10th of December)
2nd Sunday of Advent - Readings: 2Pet 3, 8-14; Mk 1, 1-8
"There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose"
Every time I read the Gospel on which we reflect today (of Saint Mark), I try to put myself in the position of Saint John the Baptist. Mark says about the forerunner of Jesus: "John was clothed with camel’s hair, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying: 'There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
How difficult it is to have St. John’s humility! I think that it would be very difficult for me to assume his role of precursor, trainer, coadjutant, "of not being the main character". Many of us seek that our actions in life appear as something very important, something great and recognized. This behaviour is not completely wrong, because we should seek to have a major impact on the world created by God but using the gifts that He has given us.
This behaviour becomes a problem when we forget humility. We can define "humility" as the virtue of putting everything (successes and failures, achievements and disappointments) in God's hands: He is the great master and we are the fulfillers of His will.
St. John the Baptist was very famous. Many even considered him as the Messiah himself, who had come into the world to save the Jews. He could have taken advantage of this fame for his own benefit, in order to conquer power or glory. However, he preferred another path: the path of faith and humility. By saying that he was not the Messiah and that he could not even "loose the sandals" of the Messiah, he put himself in a position of service to God. He completely ignored his human need for glory and recognition, and God raised him to be a martyr defender of the faith and baptism, not only in water but in the Holy Spirit.
How many times we have the possibility of evangelizing in a quiet way but we prefer the fame, glory and power! In our own Society of St. Vincent de Paul, we very often act so that others can value us, so that they elect us as Council presidents or in order to be seen and admired! However, to put ourselves at the feet of Jesus and to devote our lives to the selfless service to the poor and to other members of the SSVP is an expression of the holiness that we seek so much in the Vincentian vocation.
Ozanam could have been much more famous. He could have tried to become a prominent politician, but he preferred to be recognized as the servant of the Poor. St. Vincent de Paul lived very close to the royalty and could have become rich, but his "new conversion in the experience of his vocation" led him to another path: to undertake the service to the Poor. So were many other Vincentians who preceded us: they do not have portraits on the walls of the Councils, they did not write books, do not have rooms named after them. After all, they did not need this glory, because, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, "service was never between us and men, it was always between us and God".