From the Gospel according to John
This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptising.
The word of the Lord
Dispense with sorrow.
According to Pope Francis, sorrow persists within us because, in moments of sadness, one becomes the central figure, whereas allowing oneself to be reconciled requires stepping aside to welcome the Spirit. This parallels John’s actions, stepping aside to make way for the Messiah.
Indeed, Lord, perhaps I find comfort in dwelling on complaints and self-pity because there I take the leading role. Both attitudes mirror my vanity. However, authentic joy arises from embracing the sentiment expressed by Our Mother in the Magnificat: My spirit delights in God, my Savior. The key is to step aside, akin to John, allowing You, Lord, to take center stage in my life.
Applied to marital life:
Albert: Spouse, how can I combat my pride and vanity?
Evelyn: Overcome them with your joy.
Albert: Do you believe I possess the gift of joy?
Evelyn: Undoubtedly, God bestowed it upon you for service. When you’re joyful, your demeanor transforms, spreading positivity; nothing perturbs you as you jest about everything… It’s delightful to be in your company.
Albert: Thank you, Evelyn. Your words inspire hope; I’ll implement this approach henceforth.
Mary, our Mother, grant us the ability to step aside, setting aside the sorrow we anticipate in our relationship, to embrace the joy that God instills in my husband and our marriage. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.