The Gospel Today
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
Reflection (Sem. Nathaniel B. Pagalan):
How do we recognize Jesus? Does He come with a white dove hovering over His head? Does He dress in majestic robes? Will the skies break open to announce His coming? How do we know it is Him?
It is often difficult to know a person (much more God!) if the two of you haven’t really met yet. It is even more difficult to recognize someone or something you haven’t come across with. Recognition presupposes a meeting of some sort. It is only then can you know and recognize someone or something is. A lot of times for relationships to grow and deepen, a meeting takes place and the need for a constancy of such meeting. An investment is required. For relationships to mature you need to invest not in terms of money but of time and effort.
But how about God? How do we get to know Him? How do we recognize Him? How do we invest time with God?
I remember one Jesuit who once posed to me a question during one session of my retreat a couple of years ago. He asked me on how I create memories with my God. I had a difficult time answering him. Then he said that to create memories with God is simple. There is no need to go far to look for Him. You simply just have to be in quiet prayer. It is in prayer that we meet and encounter God. For prayer is really a relationship. And I guess if we go back to our premise on growing and deepening relationships as investing time and effort, you need to invest in prayer to get to know and recognize God.
I feel this is what our Gospel reading for today is telling us. The only reason why John the Baptist was able to recognize Jesus was because there was already an encounter with Him and his God. He knows who God is that made it easy to recognize Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.
I feel that with our readings for today, God is inviting us to constantly commune with Him in prayer so that we are able to recognize Him and His ways of loving. If we invest time and effort with God by constantly praying, we can all the more recognize who He is and how He makes his presence felt in the ordinariness of each day.