SS BASIL THE GREAT & GREGORY NAZIANZEN (Memorial) White
Basil’s parents and four of his nine siblings were canonised including St Gregory of Nyssa. Basil studied in Constantinople and Athens with his friend Gregory of Nazianzen. He founded a school of oratory and law in Caesarea and was so successful and sought after as a speaker. He became a priest and monk and founded monasteries. He is considered as key to the founding of eastern monasticism. He is a Greek Doctor of the Church, and Father of the Church
First Reading: 1Jn 2:22-28; Psalm: 98 R. v. 3; Gospel: Jn 1:19-28
THE HUMBLE AND LOYAL BAPTIST
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
The prominence of John was too great to overlook. John was able to command so many crowds at the Jordan where he was baptising. People came to him to listen and be baptised. The followership John commanded was identical to that of a prophet. John even had disciples who learnt at his feet. This explains the confusion of the Jews. They did not know who exactly John was. Was he the Messiah or one of the prophets? To clear their confusion, they sent some priests and Levites to inquire from John who he really was.
The confusion on whether John was the Messiah, Elijah or one of the prophets was because the Jews were expecting the coming of the Messiah. And the prophets had foretold that Elijah would appear before the day of the Lord. John could have claimed to be Elijah or the Messiah leveraging on their confusion; but he did not. John instead accepted his humble identity. He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” John was not an opportunist but a loyalist. He remained loyal to the mission he was called to accomplish.
This quality of John was one of the reasons Jesus regarded him as the greatest of all men born of women. John never projected or elevated himself beyond who he was called to be even when he had the opportunity to do so. He accepted his status a forerunner and nothing more. In life, it is only right to give each other his/her place. Sometimes, we feel tempted to play a role not meant for us out of pride and the desire to gain some accolades when the rightful owner of such role is there. We cannot get to the top in this way. Whoever wants to go higher must be humble. And humility is accepting who we truly are.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, we pray for the grace of humility and faithful service. Amen.