3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C

Date: 
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Speaker: 
Fr. Kyle
Homily transcription: 

Last week we spoke about how the word of God came to John the Baptist, despite the fact he was basically just a long-haired hippy wandering around the desert.  This week I would like to suggest that this was made possible because John was a man who embodied the virtue of humility.

In today’s gospel people seem to be enamored by who John is and what he has to say; so much so that they even begin asking if he is the Christ.  He is receiving high praise and attention from everyone.  Usually when I find myself in this situation, I like the attention; I like the affirmation; I like the praise.  If someone tells me they thing I’m great, I want to say to them, “Oh really, tell me more about that…”  But this is not what John does.  John takes the praise and directs it to it’s proper recipient and directs the people to God.  In short, John shows us the perfect balance of the virtue in humility. 

There are two extremes that should be avoided in order to truly be humble.  The first is self-depreciation.  This is when we respond negatively to praise and affirmation by claiming that we are not really any good.  The other extreme is pride.  This is when we respond to praise and affirmation by taking it all to ourselves. 

True humility, which is shown by John in the gospel, is to place the praise and affirmation where it truly belongs.  When John the Baptist is praised, he does not depreciate himself.  In fact, he even recognizes that he is pretty darn good because he is baptizing people with water.  And so he properly receives some of the praise.  BUT, he then points to the source of his goodness by telling them that there is one greater than he and that he is the one who deserves true praise. 

John the Baptist was a man of humility and it is because of this that God did such great things through him.  Perhaps John described humility best when he spoke about Jesus saying, “He must increase and I must decrease.”