I’m Not Worthy

“This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.”

Isn’t John the Baptist speaking for all of us? Really, who IS worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals? I know I’m not. But here I am, reading Jesus’ words in the Gospel but knowing that I’m not now and I never will be worthy of such a great responsibility. Then I’m supposed to say something profound.

It’s really hopeless when you think about it. Over the past 2,000 years there have been a lot of people who have proclaimed the Word of God. Some have been great preachers, like Bishop Fulton Sheen or Father Benedict Groschel, or Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan. Saint John Chrystostom is the patron saint of preachers, but even he, possibly the greatest of all time wasn’t worthy.

Of course, we all know that there are bishops, priests, and deacons who have failed horribly in their responsibility to the Church and to the people. Yet they’ve proclaimed the Gospel, and no matter how unworthy they were or are, the Word is still true.

I guess the trick is to know that you’re not worthy. I know a few guys who think they ARE worthy, but I believe that that kind of thinking makes you even less qualified to speak on Jesus’ behalf. Each of us is called to spread the Good News in our own way. John the Baptist wasn’t anything to look at. He wore animal skins and ate bugs, but people came to him in droves, asking him to baptize them. Unworthy though he was, he was preparing the way for the Messiah. Well, the Messiah came. We celebrated His birthday just a couple of weeks ago. But everyone hasn’t gotten the message. After 2,000 years there are still unbelievers. There are even more who believe that He came, believe that He was the Messiah, but don’t necessarily believe what He said. You and I are called to show them the way. Whether we think we’re worthy or not, we’re the tools that Jesus has chosen to build His kingdom.

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