Tuesday of the Second Week of Christmas
(I John 2:29-3:6; John 1:29-34)
In 2007 when Barry Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron’s career homerun record, the latter made a statement of humility. He said that he was proud to have held the record for thirty-three years but now would move over. In the gospel today John the Baptist says something similar.
Evidently John the Baptist was celebrated as a major religious personage in first century Israel. The gospels record people going from Jerusalem to the desert to hear him preach. After two thousand years there remains a small group of people that regard the Baptist as God’s most eminent prophet. But in all the gospels John recognizes Jesus as his superior. The fourth gospel is the most emphatic. In it John recognizes Jesus as the “’Son of God.’”
As much as we would celebrate ourselves or another, we like John the Baptist should always give priority to Jesus. We need to remember as well that he can never be surpassed. He is God’s definitive revelation because he is God. Indeed, we measure all human achievement in the light of his. “Yesterday, today, and forever,” writes the author of the Letter to the Hebrews. In this new year we want to keep our sights on him.