Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

I have always appreciated the character of John the Baptist, who we hear about in this week’s Gospel.  He is a bold, prophetic, almost larger-than-life personality, and somehow manages to cut straight to the heart of things with simplicity and humility.

He has this profound sense that he is part of something bigger than himself.  The Baptist clearly understands that he is great, not just because of his own actions, but because of what, and who, he represents.

Last week you received a letter from me concerning what has occurred in this parish since I was appointed your Pastor.  I have received a lot of gratitude, which is wonderful; and indeed, I have worked hard, so I do welcome the appreciation.  However, I am also mindful of what my father drilled into me, “to whom much has been given, much is expected.”  In his mind, service and sacrifice are the dues we pay for the privilege of living

Like John, I am a reflection of someone else (actually many someones. . .) This is true of each of us.  We each have people who have come before us, and it is quite humbling for me, especially when I think of the great Pastors that have come before me.

But real humility is not lowering our head and pointing to another in attempt to throw credit or attention away from ourselves.  I think it is more like what we find in John the Baptist:  a bold voice that says I am here, but recognize that I am part of something much bigger.  As the adage goes, “Real humility is not thinking of yourself less; rather, less about yourself.”

So let us answer the call to serve and be willing to sacrifice; but let us do it like John:  with our heads held high, confident that it is never just about us, but about being a part of something (and someone) greater.