Fr Mark-Mary and Br. Malachy talk about how to push back the darkness and truly be a light in the world.
“But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.” (John 5:32)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Jews what an effective witness John the Baptist was for him. But what made John so effective? He didn’t perform flashy miracles. He didn’t dress in a popular style or hang out with people of great power. On the contrary, he lived in the desert, wore a camel-hair outfit, and ate locusts and wild honey. Still, people were drawn to him. Even King Herod protected John and “liked to listen to him” (Mark 6:20).
What made John stand out? His single-mindedness. He had one purpose in life: to fulfill his calling as a herald of the Lord. The fact that every aspect of John’s life reflected that calling made people respect him and take seriously the words that he preached.
We are now about halfway through Lent. By this point in the season, many of us may be feeling discouraged or frustrated. Maybe we haven’t been as faithful to our Lenten observances as we had wanted to be. Maybe we are embarrassed, thinking that we are not credible witnesses to Christ. But discouraging thoughts like these can actually make your spiritual life worse!
You may well have fallen short of your goals for Lent, but today is a new day, and Jesus’ mercy never fades. In fact, wasn’t it the depths of God’s mercy that John himself proclaimed when he preached his message of repentance? Don’t let his preaching be in vain!
If you want to be a good witness to Christ in these remaining days of Lent, then take John’s words to heart. First, ask God to forgive any unfaithfulness on your part. Then, confident in his mercy, keep moving forward. Take up the same single-minded approach that John had, and determine that you will be faithful to the Lord today.
Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t worry about any time that you may have lost or the blessings you may have missed out on. Seize hold of the grace that’s available today. It’s free. It’s abundant. And it’s yours if you want it.
Reflect, today, upon the praise you give and receive. Do you allow misguided praise of others to misdirect you in life? And when you compliment and praise another, is that praise based on the Truth of God and directed to His glory. Seek to give and receive praise only when it is grounded in the Truth of God and directs all to His glory.
“Jesus, help me to put the past behind me and begin this day with hope and confidence in your grace!”