I am the voice of one crying out in the desert. Make straight the way of the Lord.
And so goes the words of John the Baptist in today’s gospel. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. What a revelation! Sure it may seem old hat to many of us, after all, most of us have been Catholic for a very long time, and every now and then, we hear these very words, of Saint John the Baptist.
Well, for a long time, I’ve been thinking to myself, what’s my purpose as a 4th degree Knight? What am I really supposed to do? Those of you who had attended the 4th degree Executive Meeting at my house recently can attest to the fact that we spent quite a bit of time talking about exactly what to do to boost the flagging numbers of the assembly attendance sheet. At the back of my mind, was always the question: What are we doing here?
So I’m sitting at mass this morning, a bit earlier than usual as we had Parish Breakfast to serve, and I had to be there to help, and BAM! there was father telling me what I was supposed to do as a 4th degree Knight!! If you haven’t guessed it by now, its really simple. Its about being in the public eye.
Its no accident that the Baptism in the Jordan was the first Luminous Mystery. The Luminous Mysteries were all about Jesus’s life in the public eye. In his groundbreaking document on the Rosary, Pope John Paul II was careful to remind us, “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christ-centered prayer.” The pope also points out, “The whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the ‘light of the world’ (John 8:12)….This truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life….”
As a 4th degree Knight, we’re called to public life. We’re called to be out there showing ourselves as the face of religion, of Catholicity, of charity, unity, fraternity and of course, patriotism. We dress up in our best, tuxedos, not for ourselves, but to be at ONE with the others of our order. When we don our capes and chapeaus, it is not for self-glorification, but, as the the Colour Corps Drill Manual states: the colourful capes and chapeaus add dignity and a pride of church and country to any event.
And what of the meetings? Why should one attend meetings at all? Well, how else does one get to know your fellow Sir Knight? It sure won’t come from seeing each other at mass! Here’s a short story that illustrates this well:
A priest noticed that one of the men in his parish had been missing for mass for awhile. One day, he popped by the man’s house and after the usual pleasantries, sat down by the fire. The man thought he would be receiving a good lecture now. Instead, all the old priest did was to remove one glowing ember from the fire and place it on the stone hearth. He sat there for a good 15 minutes, without saying a word, by which time, the ember was starting to die out and go cold. The man was wondering what was going on, when the old priest simply picked up the cold dead piece of coal, and placed it carefully back in the fire. In just a few seconds that dead ember was glowing brightly again. Without saying a word, the old priest got up and said his goodbyes. The next Sunday, that parishioner was back at mass again.
Yes brothers, just like an ember needs others around it to burn brightly, a Knight needs his brother Knights to remind him of all he is called to be. All Catholics are called to be Christ-like. You, Sir Knights, are called to be shining lights in the public eye. Let us not disappoint our God.