What St. John The Baptist Teaches Us About Expectations | Catholic Bible Study

by Catholic Bible Studies And Reflections, Gospels, Saints

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.
I have baptized you with water; 
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee 
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open 
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, 
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:7-11

The Interesting Life Of St. John The Baptist

John the Baptist has always been an interesting figure in the Gospels. He lived outside of others’ expectations and he certainly had some behaviors that would have been considered peculiar. While his behaviors may seem strange, Jesus said there was no one greater than John the Baptist. 

When we have rigid expectations, we can often miss what is right in front of our eyes. It reminds of when C.S. Lewis wrote, “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.”  It is easy to miss what is in front of us when we have preconceived notions and expectations for how things or people are “supposed to be.” 

We do this with others as well as when we look inward at ourselves. We often apply “shoulds” to our thoughts, feelings, and desires. However, we need to remember that God meets us where we are and that we are not only acceptable but desired and loved where we are.  It is a delicate balance of knowing that we are loved how and where we are in the present moment, but still in need of growing in holiness and virtue. 

A young man once shared a quote from Leighton Ford with me that goes, “God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay there.”  When we forget this and are hard on ourselves or others because we had expectations for where we should be now and what we should have accomplished, we sow discouragement and despair.  If you find yourself being hard on others or yourself because of rigid expectations, consider reflecting on John the Baptist and his presence in the Gospels.

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