I know this weekend was a disappointment, I wished we could have pulled that game out. However, I’m still proud of the team the way they played and the way they played their hearts out. As we all know our team found its success running the football, and as I was watching the game I paid attention to a group of guys who don’t always get the recognition as the running backs or the QBs get. Those were the guys on the offensive line. Before the game got out of hand and many other points during the season they created holes, have Jai, Jamar, John and Rodney the room to move the ball up the field. Even though the recognition went to the guy carrying the ball, they couldn’t have done it without the effort of the lineman. They give everything to help move the ball and they do it knowing they will never have their name called, never got player of the week, and won’t show up on the highlights. However, they do it because they know it helps their team win and reach the ultimate goal which we almost had this year.
In today’s Gospel, we hear about St. John the Baptist, he in some ways are like those linemen who give themselves every down to reach their goal but never get the recognition. John the Baptist as we hear was the first to point out our Lord and tell of the coming Messiah. He wore camel’s hair for clothing, a leather belt and eat locusts and honey. Immediately before Jesus came, he was baptizing people in the Jordan. He prepared the way for Jesus, by preaching the repentance of sin and baptizing all who came to him.
How is he an example to us in our lives? I’m not saying we should put on Camel’s hair and go into the wilderness and eat locus for a living, but we can follow after the attitude he had, and the way he followed our Lord. John tells his disciples another place in the scriptures that he is the best man for the bridegroom, sent before him to prepare the way. Followed his most famous and well know line, “I must decrease, he must increase.”
John the Baptist knew what he was sent to earth to do, who he was called to prepare the way for. He knew that people would come to him, and be baptized by him. Many people would come and listen to him and look up to him, but despite all of this he made sure that when the Messiah came he would step aside and show people to the Messiah. If you follow his story after this event you know he would be arrested and killed. He willingly gave his life for Christ so that the Messiah could come and bring about salvation.
How can we learn from John the Baptist in our own lives? In one way I believe we can all follow after his example and work to decrease ourselves and allow Jesus to increase in our lives. Are we grateful to God when we receive blessings, when good things happen in our lives? Even when something good may happen that is our own effort, or we may not see God active we should still be grateful to him for the grace he gave us, the strength we gave us to do what we did.
We too can follow the way John lived. John lived a very simple life, carrying and eating only what he needed. We don’t have to live in the wilderness like he did, but we can still live simply. How do we approach the possessions we own? Do we become overly attached to them? Do we try to live simply and within our means? If God were to come to us today ask us to give up everything, is there something we wouldn’t want to let go? Does anything in our lives get in the way of spending time in prayer? Do our phones, our computers act like noise-canceling headphones to God’s speaking to us in silence? John the Baptist lived with only what he needed in the wilderness. There in the silence, he could hear God speak to him and clearly points the Messiah out when he came. Can we become more like him in our lives? Finally spend some time reflecting on what John the Baptist said “I must decrease, he must increase?” How are we allowing Jesus to shine through us, so when people see us they are seeing a reflection of Christ?
Offensive lineman are the most overlooked and undervalued members of a football team, not because they lack skill, or they don’t play an important role, rather the role they play is essential but usually get’s overshadowed by the QB or RB. John the Baptist knew he would be overshadowed by the Messiah and his work was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah, knowing full well when he came he would have to decrease to as little as he could so the Messiah could redeem the world. May we follow after John’s example for us so that our Lord may shine through us and to the world.