By ARCHBISHOP SOC VILLEGAS
Who has never experienced being frustrated? Who has never experi-enced putting in full will power to overcome a bad habit and then stumble in the end? Or putting in full personal strength to challenge the unjust and confront the corrupt, only to end up to be ridiculed and mocked and even be wronged instead of winning the battle? Who has never experienced setting a clear vision to start a project but instead of reaching the goal end up bankrupt and defeated unable to sustain the momentum to reach the goal? Motivational seminars taught me that if the intention is clear, the mechanism will appear but I have a contrary experience. After putting in my one hundred per-cent, I ended in half the race without reaching the ﬁnish line. John the Baptist was a courageous prophet of denunciation. He had excep-tional clarity in pointing out what is wrong. He was a feared critic of the king. But after such ﬁery critical preaching against evil and sin, the poet John Shea called John only half a prophet: I can denounce a king, but I cannot enthrone one. I can strip an idol of its power, but I cannot reveal the true God. I can wash the soul in sand, but I cannot dress it in white. I can devour the word of the Lord like wild honey, but I cannot lace his sandal. I can condemn sin, but I cannot bear it away. Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Like John we see evil in society. We renounce it. We deplore it. We are angered by the callousness of the corrupt and the insensitivity of the greedy. How come we cannot dethrone evil and bring the battle for righteousness to victory?
John preached and offered a baptism of repentance. Jesus offered a baptism of grace. John had human will power. Jesus has the divine will to save. The error of our age is that we still rely too much on human will power to change a corrupt world. Will power and human courage is not enough no matter how heroic.
We need grace. It is Jesus the bringer of grace who saves. It is mission impossible without the Lord. The will power of John needs the grace of Jesus. John is not
the messiah; will power is not the key. Jesus is the savior and His grace is our missing ingredient to overcome evil. Jesus is the savior not John. We are His creation and He is the Lord.