(2nd Sunday of Advent)
When I was in primary school, I played with my friends after school at the beach if there was no order from my parents to go to the farm. We had lots of fun with the kind of traditional way of surfing. However sometimes we ended up fighting. My dad told me that he allowed me to fight but never allowed me to cry after fighting. He said one day: “You should not fight with your friends. However, if there’s a time when you can’t avoid the fight, go for it but don’t cry, no tears at all. It’s your choice so don’t cry for help. Crying is the sign of a loser. I don’t want you to show that you are the loser”. The words of my father influenced my life for about thirty years. I was not able to cry for many years. I recall the last time I cried after that warning, was when I was nine. Then I cried again for the first time after that when I was thirty-seven. Am I a loser when I cry? Of course, I am not.
The words of my father remind me of people in our contemporary world marked by the thunder of competitions. Everyone would like to be number one. No one wants to become the loser. Becoming the loser creates shame and is a sign of incapability. I was touched by the words of Alexander Zverev. He is the youngest top ten in the world rank today. In the last ATP final after defeated world number one Novak Djokovic, he said: “Thank you Novak for letting me win today. I know that you are the best player in the world today, and you can win any title you want. However today, you let me win”. I watched the match and I don’t think that Alexander was given the winning. He played really well to win the title, and yet he humbly admired the world number one by saying that he allowed him to win.
John the Baptist was a humble man that played an important role in preparing for the coming of the Messiah. When he appeared to the public, he was so popular which made people think that he was the messiah. When they asked who he was, He did not refuse to confess, but openly declared, “I am not the Christ.” (John 1:20), He could have easily told people that he is the Christ, the messiah, since he was so popular. Some other time he said: “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Is he a loser? Indeed, he is not.
This weekend and next weekend, we are continuously reflecting on the role of John the Baptist. He is the one that was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah: “Voice that cries in wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Luke 3:4). Many people think that when you are humble and let other people be the first, you are the loser. The life of John the Baptist has shown us that humility is not equal to being a loser.