Well he we are again, in ordinary time. Just after Christmas, after the festive feast of the Santo Nino (the Holy Child), we are back in the usual tracks of life. Welcome back to ordinary time!

The gospel today (Mt. 4: 12- 23) slowly introduces us to the public life of Jesus, the beginning of his life-giving ministry to others.  How did Jesus start his public life? There was no official announcement, no welcome party, and certainly, no proper send-off!

Jesus’ send-off was a setback for someone else. The gospel said that when the Lord heard “that John had been arrested,” he left Nazareth, his home, the setting of his hidden life, and now started to share the light to the people waiting for his hope. Then he began to call the first disciples.

John the baptist was truly the “friend of the bridegroom,” Jesus. All his life was a preparation for his coming and his introduction to Israel. Now that Jesus has finally emerged from the shadows, John was ready to take his place there and leave the scene forever. Jesus must have felt this from his good cousin and friend, John. No doubt, John must have inspired him immensely to carry on the mission the Father has for him.

When we are down and out, isn’t there a John to cheer us? When we are at our wit’s end, isnt there a John to help us clear our mind? When we feel hopeless, surely, the Lord sends us a friend, a relative, a neighbor, even a stranger to make us feel inspired again not just to sit down in self-pity but to stand and fight for dear life.

God sent John to help Jesus on his feet and to strengthen him in his future mission. This day, let us remember who is our John the Baptist, the one who tells us not to give up, the reason why we continue to smile and be positive in spite of the hard realities of life. Let us thank the Lord for this person (or person) he sends into our lives.