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Appreciating St. John the Baptist better

If we want to be truly Christian, we need to appreciate more deeply the role of St. John the Baptist in the whole economy of salvation. He was the one who prepared the people for the coming of Christ, the one who pointed Christ, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world, to the people. Somehow, we have a duty to follow the example of this saint in preparing people for the coming of Christ.

We know all too well that, like St. John the Baptist, whose call for repentance as preparation for the coming of the Redeemer was a lonely cry in the desert, we, too, can be like the voice of God today as well as that of the Church or of any spiritual and moral Christian teaching that has become a voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Present circumstances in the world point to a growing deafness and insensibility to truths of faith and morals. The prologue of St. John’s gospel already captures this phenomenon: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (1,11)

The Psalms have many references to the same predicament. For example, Ps 76 says: “How often they rebelled in the wilderness! / How often they grieved him in the desert! / Again and again they put God to the test / and provoked the Holy One of Israel. / They forgot his strength, they forgot the time / when he saved them from the oppressor’s power.”

I don´t refer so much to those who openly declare themselves as atheists or agnostics as to Christians themselves, some of whom flaunting their Christianity, who fail to be consistent with their beliefs. The former needs a lot of understanding and patience; the latter some “spanking”.

We have to have the same attitude as St. John the Baptist. Like him, we too should help in preparing everyone to be fit for the coming of the Lord. This definitely will be going to be a very challenging task, given the conditions we are having today.

We cannot deny that there is a lot of ignorance, confusion, and indifference to the things of God these days. The life of piety seems to be waning in many parts of our country, let alone, the whole world. Many people are hardly praying, and the practice of devotion seems to be facing extinction.

Just the same, we should not forget that regardless of what may appear to be a deep-seated culture of irreligion these days, every man continues in the deepest part of his heart to yearn for God. What the Catechism says about this is always relevant:

“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” (CCC 27)

Yes, God himself will always draw us to himself in ways that can be very mysterious. And we, on our part, should try our best to discern the directing ways of God. This is where everyone has to do his part in preparing himself to see and follow God’s ways.

What should be foremost in our mind is that we are preparing people fit for the Lord, starting with our own selves and then reaching out to others. For this, let’s continue to use both the human and the supernatural means.*

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