In every age people find themselves looking for hope as they face the challenges and battles of life. Jesus Christ is the foundation of our hope, inspiring us to seek out the Lord in our lives and discerning how we can share our hope with one another.
John’s death vividly reveals the potential price tag for our faith. Yet we can find new strength to face the injustices of life through our conviction that we are made for more…in this life and in the life to come.
The cruel death of John the Baptist offers a brutal reminder that our world is filled with forces of destruction. In the face of injustice we keep our eyes fixed on the Cross of Christ, so that we can acknowledge the evil around us with the strength of the Lord who triumphs over it.
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!
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!
In the exchange between Mary and Elizabeth the two women give praise and thanks to God for the blessings they have witnessed. May we take their example to heart and do the same in our lives each and every day.
Those little words, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” have the power to bring healing and grace as we recognize our weaknesses and ask for mercy. May the example of Jonah and Jesus inspire us to speak them frequently from the heart!