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!
Gardeners know that fruitful plants begin from tiny seeds that grow slowly and steadily through a process of change. God brings about transformation in a similar way in our souls: we start small, work a process of growth and the Lord gives the grace we need.
Jesus teaches the disciples to speak simply and plainly. In a world full of words it is a good reminder! May our words reflect our actions with clear transparency, helping us deepen the relationships in our lives with trust and integrity.
The prophet Elijah watched and waited for the Lord. While the wind, earthquake and fire were visibly amazing, Elijah recognized God in a tiny whispering sound. It’s a good reminder for us today to be on the lookout for the Lord, for even in the smallest and simplest of experiences God is constantly present and in our midst.
The Lord boldly states that we are called to reconcile with one another. That begs a simple question: who do I need to forgive in my life today? Once we recognize the essential aspect of forgiveness in our lives the next step is to call upon Christ for the grace required to make it happen.
From the miracle of Elijah to the Lord’s fulfillment of the Law, our faith is a gift that allows us to see God at work in our lives. What’s more, as disciples we continue Christ’s saving work as his instruments in the world.
The Lord offers a bold job description for disciples: You are the Salt of the earth and the Light of the world! As we draw near to Jesus we also become conduits of his grace, touching the hearts and lives of those around us. May we shine with the Good News of the Gospel!