Open your Mouths! - A Reflection on Luke 1:57-66,80 Feast of John the Baptist
Today we celebrate the feast of John the Baptist, who is one of my heroes in the Bible. I have spoken about him several times over the past 18 months in these reflections, and it might be a good idea to recap a couple of important things we have reflected upon. One, was how God bypassed the political and religious leaders of the time to choose this man, who had isolated himself from everything by going into the wilderness to be with God (see Luke 3:1-7). That’s probably a reason why he was chosen by God for his mission.
Second, he was the “voice of one calling in the wilderness, “ telling people to “‘prepare the way for the Lord, (and) make straight paths for him.’” Blessed with the gifts of wisdom and fortitude (the two go together), he called people to repentance rebuking the self-righteous pharisees as they made their way to him. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of his time. “You brood of vipers!”, he called them. “Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8).
Both these points suggest a reflection for today. Look around you at the church and tell me what you see. Be honest. Do you see a vibrant and healthy church where everybody loves Jesus (and each other), knows his word, obeys his commandments, or do you see a church riddled with bigotry, marked with divisiveness, and ruled by politicians? You need to answer. Because the church represents heaven and should be governed by its rules, and not the rules of the world. What kind of church do you see?
Now, if the church you see is worldly, and not heavenly, then isn’t it the business of somebody who can actually see that things are wrong to point them out, not to create scandal, but so that the wrong can be corrected? I find myself increasingly disturbed by so many things happening in the church, one of them being the ghetto mentality in certain sections of the Church. I used to believe that this was limited to ignorant people who grew up in a worldly environment.
Not knowing any better, they believe they need to guard their “turfs” like gangsters, preventing “outsiders” from encroaching, but I have come to discover that this attitude is prevalent even among those who should have more maturity and wisdom. I know that some of these people can be very intimidating, even threatening, but tell me what happens if everybody keeps quiet. Nothing changes. Evil continues to reign. Jesus is coming back, and he is looking for John the Baptists to prepare the way for his return.
Be one. Open your mouths and speak out against evil. Because if you don’t, then you aid and abet it.