I am not…
John the Baptist
John 1: 20-21
Three times in today’s Gospel (John 1: 19-27), John the Baptist says, “I am not…”
Pop psychology is often very much concerned about having an adequate self-image and would probably be concerned about these words of denial of John.
However, I believe that acknowledging who I am not can be liberating, can let the power of God work within us and through us.
Being clear that we are not the messiah, the prophet, the savior is a first step to acknowledging who we really are.
I remember one day in the 1980s when I was working in campus ministry and was very concerned about the wars in Central America and other parts of the world. A student I worked with asked me, without any malice, “What country are you saving today?”
Though I might not have taken to heart his challenge, in the last few years his question has opened my heart to recognize that I am not the savior – of a country, of a person, of a parish.
This frees me to be who I am called to be. It relieves me of any personal or societal expectations.
It has opened me to see, today, that I am called to be one whom God uses to open the way of the Lord.
This is freedom – because the Lord is the One who acts and saves.
And I am just the servant of the Lord.