I must admit that I do not understand much of what John said in today’s reading. Like, what does he mean by speaking of someone for whom we should not pray because he or she is guilty of a “deadly sin?” And, what does he mean by saying that the whole world is under the power of evil?
Real harm can come with words like those. The danger is that someone who has not been educated in the particular customs of John’s Christian community might put his own false meaning on John’s words, using them to justify what he dreams up for a Christian community where he might dominate.
So, for today, I prefer to marvel over the meekness that enabled John the Baptist, referring to Jesus, to say, “He must increase; I must decrease.”
I often comment on Our Lord’s words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” I ask you to note how he does not command you to love your neighbor more than you love yourself. No, each of us loves ourself too much for that. Each of us begins life alone, living every moment within the self.
When you mix with strangers on a bus, or in a store, or at a game, you should force yourself to see how each passing person is a world to him or her self. He or she has as many ancestors as you have, has seen as many movies, has felt as many aches.
You should make the Herculean task of loving your neighbor as much as yourself. You can't go beyond that.