- Recently a street survey was undertaken in a large city, in order to establish the level of optimism or pessimism of various members of society in that city.
- When the results were tabulated, it was found that particular groups of those survey results pointed repeatedly to a negative outlook while other groups pointed repeatedly to a positive outlook.
- The researchers decided to call in the group leaders in order to try to explain this anomaly. What they discovered was truly amazing!
- The group leader whose results indicated continuous negative outlook was in himself mean-spirited, cynical and highly critical. The results of the survey of this group reflected perfectly the attitudes of the group leader.
- On the other hand the group leader whose results pointed repeatedly to a positive outlook within society, was known for his generosity, his openness, kindness and great compassion.
- We see people, not as they are, but as we, in effect, are.
- Today’s gospel provide us with another illustration of the truth. Jesus had only recently arrived from Nazareth, he was as yet completely unknown. He needed somebody to introduce him to the public and therefore to launch his public mission. In John the Baptist this person was to be found.
- John the Baptist himself had followers. He was a leader whose words inspired people; people with his disciples, people who followed him.
- John the Baptist sees Jesus and points him out to his own disciples. This is one who is greater than I. This is the new way that you are to follow.
- In this response of John the Baptist, we show the inner attitude of humility, truthfulness and fearlessness. This is a generous and open pointing to another. There is no attitude of self-protection or preservation; rather one of laying down authority for another.
- John the Baptist could recognise goodness, because they was goodness within himself.
- How often within our own structures and organisations we discover littleness, self-preservation, vindictiveness; putting others down in order to preserve one’s own status or reputation.
- John could have ignored Jesus, or criticised the. For fun doing this, he pointed him out to the people, he built him up before them. You do not seem as if it, but as a friend and ally. Thus he facilitated the start of his mission. This shows what a good and generous man John what.
- There is an important lesson here for us. If you’re always finding fault with other people, always putting them down, we should look at ourselves. We maybe say more about ourselves than about other people once our hearts are open to others, we discover good in them, even when it is hidden.
- Jesus is the supreme example of this; and our model. How did he get sinners to change their ways of life? He did so, not by condemning them and keeping his distance from them, but by defending them. He put us in touch with our own goodness. And once we are in touch with our own goodness, we will find goodness in others and help to bring out that very goodness.
- He believed in them. He saw goodness in them. He put them in touch with their own goodness. Through his own luminous goodness he evoked goodness in them
- Jesus befriends us also. He put us in touch with our own goodness. Once we are in touch with this inner goodness, we too will find goodness in others and help to bring out that same goodness.
Lord, we thank you for people who guided us but did not try to possess us:
parents, teachers, spiritual guides, friends.
For a time we stood with them.
Very simply, like John the Baptist,
they said to us, “Look, there is the one you should follow,”
and hearing this we followed that person.
Lord, like many other societies around the world,
we have a tendency to categorize people.
We characterize whole groups as lazy, or incompetent, or dishonest
because they belong to a particular ethnic group;
or because they attend a certain kind of school;
or because they live in a particular part of the city.
Send us people like Jesus who will look deeply at others, dispelling all prejudices,
and will say to them: “Society has called you by one name;
from now on you shall be known as free and creative people.”