The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
John and Jesus were cousins. Yet John also says he does not “know” Jesus. The Holy Spirit does not call John by showing him the end and then giving him a game-plan. John ministers in faith, trusting that God’s labor is greater than anything that he will do or know.
This attentiveness to God’s voice and call allows John to recognize Jesus as the Son of God at his baptism and eventually to say “something greater is happening, and it’s time for me to let go and allow this to unfold.”
When it seems like our call is full of unknowns, we can find a friend in John. Not only is God’s work always greater, but our labor in quiet faith prepares us to recognize Christ in our world, and when we do, to say: “There he is. Follow him
Today, I ask God for faithfulness in the midst of the unknown and the grace to recognize Christ in the world.
Joy is the true gift of Christmas. We can transmit this joy simply:
With a smile, a kind gesture, with some small help, with forgiveness.
Let us give this joy and the joy given will be returned to us.
—Pope Benedict XVI