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Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

My dear encountered couples:

John the Baptist underwent one of the greatest temptations there is - the temptation to assume the position of Messiah. He could have done that, some of the people already believed he was the Messiah, but he was quick to deny it. “Who are you?” they asked him. “I am not the Messiah,” he answered.

We all know Jesus is the Messiah. That he is the one and only one through whom everybody is saved. But sometimes, without even realizing it, we can fall into thinking we are somebody’s messiah. We don’t realize that is what we are doing, but it can happen.

We start out with praiseworthy concern for the condition of somebody’s soul, especially with the souls of those closest to us. We might think they don’t pray enough, go to church enough, live the right way. And so, we encourage them, advise them, we try to influence them to the better. And then, without our realizing it, we slip into trying to control their everyday lives. We begin believing that if they don’t think and do as we “know” is best for them, their souls are in great danger. In other words, in their regard we play the part of Messiah.

That’s called a “Messiah Complex.” A person thinks he or she is someone’s deliverer from all that is evil. We are to be concerned about people, we are to pray for them and help them, but never try to manage them and their lives - remembering all the time that in the final analysis it is Jesus who saves, not us.

“Who are you?” they asked John. “I am not the Messiah. But I try to prepare the hearts of people so that they will let him in when he comes.” We can do that too. The best way is by our prayers and example.

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