Gospel John 1:6-28
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
And this is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests
and Levites to him
to ask him, "Who are you?"
He admitted and did not deny it,
but admitted, "I am not the Christ."
So they asked him,
"What are you then? Are you Elijah?"
And he said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
So they said to him,
"Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'make straight the way of the Lord,'"
as Isaiah the prophet said."
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
"Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?"
John answered them,
"I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit.
"but there is one among you whom you do not recognize." I love this sentence. What makes John the Baptist aware of the Lord's PRESENCE among them? How is it, that John the Baptist can recognize Christs Presence in their midst and others remain unaware that He is moving among them? Perhaps John the Baptist in living his mission so fully, fully aware of his identity in God and the mission given him, that he is immersed in the present moment, where Christ is always to be found.
I had a beautiful encounter this morning driving up from an appointment. Sister and I stopped at an inner city parish in Green Bay. As I waited for sister for a moment, a poor man sitting on a bench, in ragged clothes with his face half covered asked me, my name and I told him, "I'm Sr. Catherine, what is your name? and he said, my name is James, (then without a pause he said) " you have a problem in your mouth, you are not well, but I will pray for you, for healing for you, and God will heal you." That was the entire encounter, but the amazing thing was, he did not know, we had just come from the oral surgeon, and there was indeed, a 'problem' but nothing you could notice from the outside, we had just left the doctors office and were praying that the problem would be healed. 'Coincidence? or God instance? How often do we encounter Jesus in our midst? He is among us, in his 'distressing disguise' as Mother Teresa always told us, but do we recognize him? What does it mean to 'recognize' someone? It is essentially means, to identify someone from having encountered them before, to know them again. Would you recognize Jesus, would you know his presence if you encountered him in another person you met along the way during the day? Before we can find our Lord Jesus in his "distressing disguise" we first need to become 'contemplative hearts'...masters at finding God in the little details of our daily lives- in the countless, "God-instances". Contemplative prayer seeks to find God constantly, in every moment. It is recognizing Him in the countless beautiful moments, in the stillness and silence of a crisp clear winter night, when all the stars are sparkling in the heavens. It is to see him, in the peaceful breathing of a newborn, it is to see Him, in the smile and sparkle of an old timer who longs to share one more story. It is to see Him in the kind eyes of the priest who stops to see how you are feeling today and makes you feel the love and care of the Father in heaven.
Where and when did you meet the Lord today? You will recognize him the more you acknowledge him. You will see the Lord loving all day long if you but seek Him.
Jesus silent in the souls of those near me, I love you, teach me to listen to you, to slow down and to be with you, in my heart.