John the Baptist offers a strong and potent example of Christian witness for us today. John’s life served as a preparation for the messiah; he recognized the Lord from the very beginning and he embraced God’s call with fierce commitment. Now it’s our turn!
Perhaps it’s human nature to worry, yet all too often we spend ridiculous amounts of time and effort worrying about things over which we have no control. In those moments when we are tempted to let worry enslave us we gratefully count our blessings and direct our hearts to the Lord.
The Lord teaches the disciples to consider what they should treasure. While we are called to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to our care, we acknowledge that there are truly priceless things that no amount of money can buy…and we will carry these with us into Heaven.
The Lord’s Prayer is a powerful gift that we frequently use in many ways throughout life. Whether alone or with others, this prayer helps us draw close to God and one another. May we use it frequently!
The practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving are powerful disciplines that the Church has embraced from the teaching of Jesus, and they offer immense power in shaping and guiding our spiritual lives.
The Lord teaches the disciples about love by using examples from his Heavenly Father. While it is sometimes easy to love, the real test happens when we overcome the obstacles within and without, choosing to love others as God loves us.
John the Baptist is a powerful prophet, calling the people to repentance and directing them to Jesus. Let’s start with an overview of the readings this week:
1st Reading – Isaiah recognizes how he was called from the womb to serve the Lord
Psalm – “I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.”
2nd Reading – St. Paul speaks about how John was the herald for Jesus
Gospel – We hear about John’s birth and how Elizabeth names him
While I have always been fascinated by this fiery prophet, I sheepishly wonder if I would want to be in deep conversation with him for very long! John conveys an urgent and intense conviction – now is the time for repentance – and I have always imagined that he would have the ability to look right through a person into the heart.
Yet this is exactly the instrument that was needed to prepare the way for Jesus. Chosen by God, John’s birth, life, ministry and death all serve as a crucial preliminary step for people to encounter the mission of Christ. John blazes the trail; Jesus leads people along the way.
John’s birth also teaches us that just as John was prepared for a specific mission, so we are also called by God to offer our lives in the world. As sons and daughters of the Lord, our lives are a blessing that is meant to be shared. We have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and now we have work to do that falls to our particular situation in life.
How are you being called to offer your life today? How do you see the Lord at work in your words and actions? May the example of John strengthen our resolve to share the gift of our lives!