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Witnessing to Christ…

Witnessing to Christ…

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Victor Feltes

St. John the Baptist once saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ …I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. …The one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.

John was not afraid to acknowledge Jesus Christ before others. John said, ‘I am not the Messiah, I am not Elijah, and I am not the prophet of whom Moses spoke.’ But he affirmed, “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord!”’ And John proclaimed Jesus as one far greater than himself, acknowledging him as the Son of God. St. Vincent de Paul observed, “Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying.” John the Baptist is humble because he maintains the truth about himself and acknowledges the truth about Jesus.

John is humble and, standing in the truth, is willing to fraternally correct others. He admonishes those in the crowds, Pharisees and Sadducees, tax collectors, soldiers, and even King Herod, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” He corrects them because he loves them. If John had hated them he would have turned his back on them like Jonah did the Ninevites, hoping to see them destroyed. If we love someone, we will warn them of grave dangers to their body or soul.

Sometimes John the Baptist, when witnessing to others, shared his own spiritual experiences. John’s ministry and message were not his own inventions. He speaks of how he received his mission to baptize from heaven and testifies to what he beheld when he baptized Jesus. God still gives us signs and messages and works new miracles among us today.

Later, as John the Baptist was standing with two of his disciples, he watched Jesus walking by and said again, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” In the Old Covenant, lambs were sacrificed to atone for sins and to celebrate communion with God. John calls Jesus the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world. So those two listening disciples (that is, Andrew and likely John the son of Zebedee) follow Jesus, who turns and asks, “What are you looking for?” They reply, “Rabbi, (teacher), where are you staying?” And Jesus welcomes them, “Come, and you will see.”

So they went and stayed with him that day, and came away convinced that Jesus is the Christ. Andrew went to his brother Simon saying “we have found the Messiah” and brought him to Jesus. The next day, Jesus found Philip and said, “Follow me.” Philip then went to his friend Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew) and persuaded him to “come and see” Jesus of Nazareth too. When his future apostles encountered Christ they happily invited their friends and family members to come and know him better.

So what lessons have we received from St. John the Baptist and Jesus’ first disciples? To humbly acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and the great things he has done in you and for you. To be unashamed to acknowledge Christ before others. That if you love a person, to tactfully alert them to grave dangers to their soul. (They might not listen to your loving appeal, but it is better to warn someone unfruitfully than to regret never making the attempt.) To share your own spiritual experiences, visions, and miracles, showing others that God is personally active in our world today. And to invite your family members and friends to come and see Jesus, encountering him in private prayer and the Gospels, and most especially with us here in his Church.

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Peace : a lesson from greek mythology.