His is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Who are you?” This is the question asked to John the Baptist in today’s Gospel. The cousin of Christ understood not only who he was but also who he was not: “I am not the Christ,” he said. I am a voice in the wilderness. His incontrovertible self-knowledge could serve as an amazing example for each of us.
What is the core of your identity? Does this sense of yourself influence how you live and what you do for Christ? John the Baptist was clear that Jesus was the Messiah, and this consciousness allowed him to point others towards Jesus as Savior through how he chose to live his life.
Take a moment and list three identities you are aware of in yourself. I am a son, a daughter, a colleague: How have I served Christ? How do I serve Christ? How ought I serve Christ?
Perhaps a deeper look into the various hats I wear offers practical opportunities to invite others towards Jesus.
—Damian Torres-Botello, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Dear Lord, allow me to be that voice in the wilderness so others might see you, love you, and follow you; use me in everything I do until I have nothing more to give. Amen.
—Damian Torres-Botello, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!