Today as we begin the new year of 2021 we hear this question in today’s Gospel reading when some Jews came to find out who is John the Baptist.
We too need to ask this question “Who am I?” St John Henry Newman tells you and I who we are!
“God has created me to do him some definite service, he committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission—l may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for his purposes, as necessary in place as an archangel in his—if, indeed, I fail, God can raise another, as he could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, though not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling.
Therefore I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain. He may prolong my life; he may shorten it. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me—still he knows what he is about. O Adonai, O Ruler of Israel, you who guide Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Sapientia, I give myself to you. I trust you wholly. You are wiser than I – more loving to me than I am to myself. Deign to fulfill your high purposes in me whatever they be.” (Saint John Henry Newman +1890)
In St. Eugene’s Ash Wednesday homily in 1813 he also explained to the people, “who they are!” – you are more precious before God than all the riches of the world, than all the kingdoms of the earth, a people about whom God is more concerned than all the governments of the entire world… therefore, O Christian, recognise your dignity”.
Dear Lord, as I begin this year of 2021, help me to realize my dignity in your eyes and may I open myself to Your will so that each day You will work in and through me. Amen.