Witness of John the Baptist

John 1: 19-28
1Jn. 2:22-28 / Psa 98:1-4

. . . among you stands One whom you do not know. It is he who comes after me, whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie.
(John 1: 26b-27)

The purpose of our existence
Is our Savior Jesus to proclaim;
All our words and works His presence
Testify that we honor His Name.

When the Jews sent to John priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted, and did not deny, and he confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What are you then, Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. And they asked him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me, whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing (John 1:19-28).


John the Baptist had attracted a significant following by preaching and baptizing in the river Jordan. This attracted the concern of the temple priests, the Levites and the Pharisees who came to investigate. The people acknowledged him as a prophet, or at least, a holy man. Initially, his purpose was to baptize and preach repentance to the crowds who came, but his primary purpose was to proclaim the coming of the Messiah, “Whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie.” He knew his calling, as prophesied by Isaiah, to be God’s herald, making way for Jesus Christ.

In today’s Gospel, it is clear that St. John the Baptist puts the focus on Jesus. As we begin this year, let us focus our mind on our life’s primary purpose — to proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and to live our lives according to His values and ideals. It is not enough just to accept Him into our life as our inspiration and ideal. We have the example of St. John the Baptist to follow, even in our own little way. We can never be worthy to “untie his sandal straps,” because our salvation is largely through the mercy of God, but we must at least follow in the footsteps of St. John by pointing others to Jesus Christ. Because unless we acknowledge Him, we might as well be denying Him. And as John the evangelist wrote in his first letter, (the first reading), “No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well” (1 Jn 2:23). This means that He who believes in the Word of God (made flesh) comes to know the Father as Jesus has revealed Him.

January was named after the Roman god Janus, who had two faces: one looking forward, and the other looking backward. As we begin the new year of 2014, let us reflect on our sins of the past year and resolve never to fall into those sins again. At the same time, let us also face the future, resolving to make it more fulfilling by leading others to Jesus Christ. This is the true path of reconciliation that we must take to follow our Savior. May the Holy Spirit be with us as we begin another year in our journey – guided by the Holy Spirit in the ways according to the Father’s will.

Father, Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus has taught us all that we need to know in the Gospel, but at times, being human, we still forget our true purpose in life. May the Holy Spirit keep us focused in our life mission always, we humbly pray. Amen.

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