Does our life point to Christ?

| Father David Hennen | December 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
A statue of St. John the Baptist stands at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul.

A statue of St. John the Baptist pointing to Jesus stands at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Michael Pytleski / The Catholic Spirit

“A voice of one crying out in the desert.” What a wonderful description of John the Baptist. He is no more than that — the voice. He is the voice that announces Jesus. The one thing that is very clear about John the Baptist is that he knew his purpose. He was steadfast in fulfilling the mission given to him by God. His whole purpose was to prepare for Jesus. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” His whole being is defined by Jesus. In all that the Gospels tell us about John the Baptist, never did he make it about himself.

Today, John gives us the path that we should follow. In our lives, Christ must be announced, known and loved. Do we bring the people around us closer to God? Is there any evidence in our lives that people have been led to God through our witness? Have we been a John the Baptist for someone? Our lives, like John, should be a “voice crying out in the desert.”

When we are asked whether we are bringing people closer to Christ, we assume that it must be done by intellectual arguments. We assume that we need to know everything and be able to convince them to follow Christ. Yet, in many cases, we don’t even get to that point. Probably one of the easiest ways to be a John the Baptist to someone is to be a joyful, generous and merciful person.

There is no way we will even get to the point of trying to convince someone with our words if we are a sad example of a Christian. Don’t you find that there is nothing more pathetic than a Christian who is grumpy and complains, and who can never see the good in things? This can be what turns people away from Christ.

We know this can easily happen in parish life, with our family or coworkers. If a person we know has been away from the Church, their interactions with us might determine whether they come back. Kindness, generosity and joy can go a long way. Most people aren’t going to be convinced initially of Jesus or the Catholic Church by intellectual arguments.

But they will more likely be convinced by how we lead our lives and how Christ has impacted us. Where do we need to “make straight his paths”? Advent calls us to make some changes in the routine of our daily lives.

One change in routine for us might be the sacrament of reconciliation. In order for us to be kind, generous and merciful, we must experience the great mercy and kindness of God in this sacrament. This Advent season, may we be like John the Baptist in pointing others to Christ. May it never be about us, but always about the Lord. May our witness allow others to know and experience Christ in this season of the Lord.

Father Hennen, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings, was ordained for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2005. He has served at Epiphany in Coon Rapids and St. Francis Xavier
in Buffalo.

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Category: Sunday Scriptures