The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
1 Jn 3:22-4:6, Mt. 4:12-17.23-25. The words of St Augustine contrast the roles of John the Baptist and Jesus, by highlighting the humility of John the Baptist, who prepared the way of the Lord: “John is the voice, but the Lord is the word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; but Christ from the beginning is the word who lives forever. Take away the word and what is the voice?" The voice without words is meaningless and cannot strengthen the heart. The sound of the voice was heard in the service of the word and has gone away, as though it were saying: "My joy is complete." Let us hold on to the word; we must not lose the word conceived inwardly in our hearts. St Augustine continues: “Because it is hard to distinguish word from voice, even John was thought to be the Christ. The voice was thought to be the word, but the voice acknowledged what it was, anxious not to give offense to the word. John is marvelous in his simplicity. In today's first reading, he says what we know, but have a hard time experiencing sometimes: "The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."
The reason the world does not embrace "us" - followers of Jesus - and the way Jesus lived out in the real world - is that the world just does not know Jesus. Each of us can reflect on where we are, in terms of knowing Jesus. Today, we are challenged to relate to a time when we knew "about" Jesus and may have "practiced" that faith, to one degree or another. The experience of knowing Jesus: experiencing His love and mercy, personally - is quite powerful. It is freeing, emboldening and it sets us apart from the world around us and its ways. What is striking about the portrait of John the Baptist is his generosity of spirit. This was a very charismatic person who drew people to himself. As a result, he had his own disciples. Yet, in today’s Gospel we find John directing two of his disciples away towards the one whom he proclaimed as the "Lamb of God." As a result John’s two disciples became disciples of Jesus. Having responded to John’s invitation to go towards the Lamb of God, they subsequently respond to Jesus’ invitation to come and see. John was not possessive about his group of disciples, he encouraged them to go towards someone else who had more to offer them than he had. To love others in the way God loves them is to want what is best for them and that will mean letting them go to others who can help them to grow. The greatest act of love we can show others is to let them go to the Lord, to direct them to the Lord as John the Baptist directed his disciples.
May the Lord help us to feel the healing calm of His forgiveness and inspire us to yearn for Him always, like the deer for running streams, until He satisfies every longing in us for God! Amen!! Good morning and have a productive week!!!