In Praise of Humility

Birthday of St. John the Baptist


It’s six months to Christmas! The angel told Mary that Elizabeth her cousin was with child six months when she agreed to be the mother of God’s Son. That puts Elizabeth’s son’s birth six months ahead of Mary’s son. So when the date of Jesus’ birth was established around the time of the winter solstice (whether it was historically accurate or not is irrelevant), John’s birth had to fall around the time of the summer solstice. Scripture commentators would go to town on the significance of the lengthening and shortening of daylight to highlight John’s declaration later in his ministry, that he (Jesus) must increase while I (John) must decrease.

But John was never into self-promotion. “There is one among you whom you do not know. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals.” He recognized his life’s mission to be precursor of the Messiah. He was born to be the Best Man, not the Groom. And he was just fine with that. In this age of bluster and self-promotion, John’s tendency to divert attention away from himself seems odd. We do not trust someone else would volunteer to be our wing man. That’s probably because we would never volunteer to do it for anyone else.

If we are secure and self-confident, it would do wonders for a neighbor if we step out of the spotlight every once in a while to give them an opportunity to shine. Parents do it for their children all the time, teachers for their students and coaches for their athletes. It builds up another to affirm their worth at no cost to ourselves. But it takes one to first know their own worth, and recognize that God’s approval alone matters. No one else’s. Go build someone up today. Let someone else’s light shine. Be someone’s wing man for a change.

This mass was offered for the repose of +Charles Welsh Jr.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020