The truth is that the Lord knows every one of us that intimately before he forms us in the womb. We can all exclaim with the words of today’s Psalm, “Truly you have formed by inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb!” None of us is a number, a census statistic, to God. Just like John the Baptist had a vocation and a mission from before he was born, each of us is formed by God with a divine destiny and given a vocation and mission in this world to achieve that destiny and help others achieve their own. While there will be specific differences between your and my mission and John’s, there are several characteristics in common.
Like John’s, our mission is given by God as part of God’s plan for us from the beginning.
Like John, the Lord fills us with the Holy Spirit at our baptism to help us accomplish this mission.
Like John, we are called to recognize who God is, that he is so great and holy that none of us is worthy to loosen the straps of his sandals (Mk 1:7; Lk 3:16; Acts 13:25). This recognition makes the Lord’s desire to stoop down and wash our feet even more mind-blowing (Jn 13:5).
Like John, we need to recognize that we’re not the Messiah, that we’re not God. That means that we, like John, recognize that we don’t call the shots — God does — and we trust in His will.
Like John, we need to make straight the paths for God to rule in our life. For John, that meant going out into the desert to pray, fasting on locusts and wild honey, dressing in a way that symbolized his interior repentance and reparation. For us, it means going away from our distractions to pray, living a penitential and reparative life and adorning ourselves with sacrificial love.
Like John, after we’re living a converted life, we are called to summon others to conversion. John did it at the Jordan River. We’re called to do it at the Acushnet River, and in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces. We have the mission to help prepare the way for Christ to come into the lives of those around us.
Like John, we’re called on to decrease so that Christ may increase in others lives. In the lives of parents, especially those whose children are being called to the priesthood or religious life, there is a great need for this humility so that the Lord’s influence in the lives of those we love may grow.
Like John, we’re called to point others to the Lamb of God. John did it when he saw Jesus at the Jordan. We’re called to do it by pointing people to Jesus in the Eucharist.
No matter what our state of life, or age, or sex, each of us is called to imitate John the Baptist in these areas.
We can all afford to put off shopping if it means preparing for eternity. Talk about the perfect gift! This is what Advent is about: growing in holiness, preparing to see the face of God.