Yesterday, I met up with some friends and former colleagues. We had a great time reminiscing our glory days, when fired with the zeal and enthusiasm of a great visionary leader we set out to change the institution we were all working for and in the process contribute to nation-building and put it on the world map. We patted our collective shoulder when we finally made it to the top of one listing of the top institutions in our field of endeavor. And then, we started bemoaning the fact how a new team, composed of younger and newer blood, has come in and started deconstructing everything we have so laboriously put together; how they were doing everything wrong; how green these people were, not knowing what is real from what is illusory, mistaking form for substance, how they will fail to succeed like we did, etc. etc. At the end, I felt kinda smug in my own goodness and righteousness. I realized I was indulging in schadenfreude. I was being very pharisaical!
It is the story of mankind: the battle of generations, the wisdom of age versus the idealism of youth; the next generation wanting to take over even before they are ready; the older generation not wanting to give in even long after their time is over; in extreme cases, the revolution eating up its own children or Oedipus slaying his own father. And it goes on and on – until someone or something breaks the cycle and cause a game-changing paradigm shift.
It is not a question of who is the greatest but what is the greatest good I can do for others. It is not that I may increase and others decrease; but that I may decrease and the Lord may increase. This is the message of the Baptist as he prepares us for the coming of the ultimate game-changer in people’s lives.
“Repent!’ he proclaims. This call to metanoia is a call to do a life-changing paradigm shift.
Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.’