Father Shawn Aaron, LC
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
Now the people
were filled with expectation, and all were asking in
their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. John
answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming. I am
not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
After all the people had been baptized and Jesus
also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was
opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily
form like a dove. And a voice came from
heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am
Introductory Prayer: Almighty and eternal
God, you are high above us in the heavens,
and yet you are so near to me. I know
that you love me infinitely. I rest in your
love; I find my strength and hope in you alone.
Thank you for loving me despite my sinfulness and
complete unworthiness. In return, I offer you my whole
self, along with my intense desire to put you first
in my life.
Petition: Jesus meek and humble
of heart, make my heart more like yours.
Mightier Than I Is Coming:John knows who he is not.
Proper self-knowledge is an essential step on the path
to sanctity. John is attracting the attention of the
multitudes in Israel. Many people would be flattered or
even intoxicated with this notoriety. Yet John is not grasping
for power, nor does he seek to be someone
he is not. He is preparing people’s hearts for the
true Christ. The Evil One will continually try to
get us to look to ourselves and our own
talents in an attempt to distract our eyes from God
and his plan for us. John gives us a
shining example of the triumph of humble self-knowledge over
the wiles of the devil. When we are totally oriented
toward God, we give rise to the desire to
eliminate from our personal life any lie, vanity, and
inflated opinion of ourselves. We begin to live in the
truth, giving all the gifts God has granted us
their real value. We use them for the service of
his Kingdom, without taking anything for ourselves, since everything
2. I Am Not Worthy to Loosen the Thongs
of His Sandals: There is no holiness without humility. Simply
understood, humility means living in the truth. This humility
is born of a proper understanding of our relationship
to God. It has nothing to do with a lack
of self-respect – Jesus was humble, yet with utter
self-possession and strength! Humility is the awareness that even
our greatest talents come from God and are meant
for his glory. In the end though, even John’s humility
will pale in comparison to the humility that Jesus
models for us in his life. “The one who
serves does not consider himself superior to the one served,
however miserable his situation at the moment may be.
Christ took the lowest place in the world —
the cross — and by this radical humility he redeemed
us and constantly comes to our aid” (Pope Benedict
XVI, God Is Love, 35). Once again we see
that Jesus asks of us only what he himself has
been willing to embrace. He is the source of
the strength I need to practice this humility in
my daily life.
3. Jesus Was Also Baptized: By being
baptized, Jesus associates himself with sinful humanity. He has taken
our flesh in the Incarnation. Now he sets out
on the path of taking our sins upon himself
so that he might redeem us from them. If it
was a scandal for the Jewish people that God
would become a man, how much more scandalous was it
that he would be baptized, a manifest sign of
repentance for sins? So great is God’s love for
us that even this act is not beneath him. It
is one of many steps by which he will
allow his love for us to lead him even to
the ignominy of the cross. Have I truly contemplated
how important I am to Jesus?
Conversation with Christ: Blessed
Lord, you went to the extreme of the cross
to prove your love for me. You have borne my
pride, and with your love and humility, you have
proven yourself stronger than my greatest sin. Give me
the strength and courage to follow you down the path
of self-giving and humble service to those around me.
Free me from the shackles of pride.
I will read and reflect upon the Catechism of the
Catholic Church, paragraphs 1262-1270.