The great truth of our Faith is that God longs to be with us that He desires us to be in communion with Him. The way He brings us to Himself and to communion is by Him coming to us. He is the one who first searches for us but we must be ready to respond with our yes of faith and love.
But there is a tendency in all of us to to dissuade God from really entering our lives, to prevent him from showing us His will. We still have ingrained in us the ‘no’ of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Part of this ‘no’ is that we always try to tell God what He should do and how He is to be and so we reject what He wills. We are very good at projecting our image of God onto God and not allowing Him to be really who He says He is. This is true too of John the Baptist in today’s Gospel as he initially tries to prevent Jesus from doing what he came to do. John seems to be reluctant to Jesus’s command owing to his own expectations and image of who Jesus should be and what he should do. However John gives into Jesus’s desires when he realises it is really God’s will that he should baptize Jesus. And so while John at first resisted he is quick to be obedient, an obedience from which God’s plan can come to fruition. This reveals for us the fundamental attitude of any disciple of Christ; to have a heart full of love and desire for righteousness, for God’s will to be done unrestrictedly. John like Mary, the perfect disciple, shows us that we must always be faithful to our ‘yes’ to God.
This Gospel also shows us that part of this ‘yes’ is also for us to become who we are meant to be. God not only challenges our image of Himself but He also challenges who we ought to be or how we should act. John shows us that being open to discovering God’s will means a readiness to change our own view of ourselves. John points us to the truth that God is the one who has to form us in to the people we are meant to be and so we must place trust in His will.
Similarly for our sister St. Catherine of Sienna she like John once had her own ideas and perception of who she was to be in relation to God. She had her own image of how she should serve God namely as a hermit in contemplation. But God explained to her that He had a different plan for her. He wanted her to serve him not only in a life of sacrifice and prayer but also in the apostolic life . Catherine though at first reluctant to God, embraced God’s will and became the ‘mystic in action’. Being open to God transformed her own view of being a contemplative. He showed her that contemplation was not only confined to a cell but that she should form the cell of the heart where she could be in contemplation and prayer ‘smack dab’ in the world with all its noise, demands and anxieties. Hence God showed her how to fuse the apostolic life with the contemplative life. By Catherine obeying God not only was she transformed into the person she was meant to be, God exceeded her every expectation. He provided every grace that she needed to achieve His will and so He achieved through her what she herself could never have foreseen.
So Catherine like John are witnesses to us that the on-going challenge of saying ‘yes’ to God will redefine not only our image of God but it will also help us discover our true selves. It is in doing God’s will that we come to know Him and as we come to know Him we come to know what it means for us to be us. Let us pray as Jesus showed John the way of truth, may he also show us the truth of who God is and who we are.