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Do Our Part and He’ll Do the Rest

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen

First Reading: 1 John 2:22-28

Beloved:
Who is the liar?
Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ.
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
Anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father,
but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
I write you these things about those who would deceive you.
As for you,
the anointing that you received from him remains in you,
so that you do not need anyone to teach you.
But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false;
just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now, children, remain in him,
so that when he appears we may have confidence
and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Gospel: John 1:19-28

This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

NAB

jan 2

I am often fascinated by the position I find myself in when it comes to my ministry work.

I speak to teenagers all across America—young people from all different backgrounds, socioeconomic classes, and states. I speak to them in theaters, gymnasiums, churches, halls, cafeterias, you name it—I have spoken to teens there.

When I am brought in to speak at these retreats and nights of worship, I am most often asked to give a talk to a room full of teenagers right before they meet Jesus in the Eucharist in adoration. It is an overwhelming role to play in the building of the Kingdom among our young people.

It is also a peculiar position, because many teenagers I speak to look at me foggy-eyed, without a care about who Jesus Christ is or wants to be in their life. I receive 25 to 30 minutes to help set up this encounter with Christ for broken, hurting, tired, indifferent young people . . . and all I get to share with them is words. In my humanity I want to move their hearts and make them recognize God’s limitless, unchanging, fierce love for them. My humanity wants to help them identify the answer to all of their suffering. I want to get them to believe that following Jesus is the one way to a life of fulfillment before they leave for the night.

But I cannot—it is not my job—it is Jesus’ job.

I can only do what I am called to do—speak words for the time I am given about who Jesus Christ is and then? Jesus takes care of the rest. It is His job to work in hearts, to help these teens see, to guide them to the right path.

I would venture to guess there are people in your life you want to help understand—who you want to make believe in the power of our unchanging God. Perhaps it’s your uncle, boyfriend, sister, best friend, or your husband. There are people suffering in your life who you want to help point toward Christ.

All we can do is witness. All we are called to do is set things up for God to move—to speak love and truth and power and beauty into their lives—through our words and actions—and allow God to cultivate those seeds planted in their minds and hearts in the beautiful way He does.

We are to be like John, the voice crying out in the desert—making straight the way of the Lord by witnessing to who He is and who He wants to be in the life of each person born to this Earth. We help set things up. Trust that He will take care of the rest.

Do you recognize the beautiful role you play in being that voice in the desert of the deserted hearts that surround you? Do you utilize that role and then trust God to do the rest?

photo credit

Emily Wilson planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves ever second of it. You can find out more about her here.

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