The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ´After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.´ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ´He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.´ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God." (John 1:29-34)
Introductory Prayer: Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to be with you, my Lord and my God. You always seek me first. Even my desire to encounter you is a fruit of your love for me, of the action of your grace in my heart. I trust that this day will be filled with the graces I need to respond generously to your call to holiness and to be your apostle.
Petition: Lord, help me to be a witness to you with the same courage, humility, and openness to the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist.
1. John “Saw Jesus Coming Toward Him.” Jesus is always coming toward us, too. Why? Because he loves us. He never imposes himself. He doesn’t burst through the door and force us to accept him or even acknowledge him. But he does remain close, hoping we will catch a glimpse of his love and, in that instant, recognize that he is everything our hearts long for. What will happen if we open the door of our life, of our heart, to Christ? He will call us to abandon the tight confines of our egotism, greed, lust, envy, and selfishness. He will open undreamed-of horizons and give a rich, new dimension to our poor, fleeting days on this earth. He will bestow on us a transcendent mission: to testify to him not only with our words, but with everything that we are.
2. John Testifies to “the Lamb of God.” As John the Baptist sees Jesus coming toward him, he proclaims: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John’s title for Jesus is rich in meaning. Fifteen hundred years before Christ, during the exile in Egypt, the blood of the paschal lamb spread on the Israelites’ doorposts saved their families from the angel of death, who slaughtered the first-born of the Egyptians. As a result, Moses was able to lead the chosen people to the Promised Land. Christ is the true Lamb of God who offers himself in sacrifice to take away our sins and to open to us the Promised Land of heaven. John’s testimony requires humility: His own disciples leave him to follow Jesus. Do I strive for this same humility? Do I put my testimony to Jesus above my own self-interest?
3. John Recognizes Jesus Through the Holy Spirit. John’s testimony was so convincing that many of his own disciples became followers of Jesus. Yet John himself claimed that at first he did not know Jesus. What did he mean by this enigmatic phrase? As Jesus’ relative, John certainly knew who he was; however, the precise moment in which Jesus was to begin his Messianic mission remained unknown to John. It was only through the action of the Holy Spirit that John fully recognized Jesus as the Chosen One of God, who was now to be revealed to God’s chosen people. The Holy Spirit seeks to work with the same power in our own lives. What attachments to worldly interests still distract me from the Holy Spirit’s action? What fears still hold me back from letting him do with me whatever he pleases? Do I fully trust in him who is love itself?
Conversation with Christ: Thank you for always coming toward me, Lord. Thank you for your love for me. At times I don’t know what you see in me, Lord, but even in my weakness and sinfulness I want to return love with love. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, help my love for you to be bold and ardent.
Resolution: I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me openly bear witness to Christ during the day.