The example of John the Baptist in the Gospel text of today shows that true personal fulfilment and greatness lie not in how we may compare with others but in how faithful we are to our God-given roles in life. John is a rare example of someone who was clear about what his role in life was and went about fulfilling that role with sincerity and courage. He was able to identify Jesus and witness to him, because he was secure in himself. This security and self-acceptance led him to see in and witness to Jesus the Lamb of God, the pre-existent one, the vehicle of the Spirit and the Chosen One of God. John was content and satisfied with his role and did not feel the need to compare himself negatively with Jesus and thus feel bad about himself. He could do this precisely because he knew the reason for his existence in the world. He knew why he came into this life: “But for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel”. And since he knew the reason for his existence and his place in the world, John could tell when he had done what was required of him. He could tell when it was time to hand the baton to another.

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