Daily Reflection – 6/24/19
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.( Luke 1:57-66, 80)
John the Baptist’s path is that of all Christian disciples, not to seek out glory for self or family, not to pursue success measured by fame, fortune, or power, but to find our true selves through our love of God and neighbor.
The process is similar to our life of discipleship, slowing discovering the richness of God’s creation in ourselves by removing the blandness of sin that so often covers it up.
This is what John did. He found his role in salvation history not through power or even his own greatness but by calling people to repent, live their lives more faithful to God, and pointing them to Christ. This is what Jesus did. He became God’s messiah and not the one people expected.
This seems like an easy choice—God not fame, fortune, power—but the choice is usually not this stark. One can imagine John’s parents wanting to intervene in their son’s life to protect him from being mocked or arrested, desiring to bring him home to comfort and protect him, yet this sheltering would have thwarted his calling. Similarly, we might be concerned about money, especially in the current economic conditions, and make small choices to prepare for retirement, to save for a rainy day, to take care of our children. Nothing is wrong with these, but we can also, over the slow passing of time, find ourselves so focused on these goods that we lose sight of the needs of the neighbor and the stranger and to the God that appears in their form.
Each day we must attend to God who is perpetually calling out, “hear me”, “listen, O distant peoples”, to return to the way of life, to return to the protection of life, to return to the fullness of life. It is a life God designed for us before our birth and when we are named, a life that might look like failure or foolishness to others and even ourselves at times, but a life that ultimately has an essential role in salvation history, a role like that of John the Baptist.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, you have put family members and other loved ones in my life for a reason. I’m to help them get to heaven, and they are to help me do the same. Remind me of this truth, and especially help me not to interfere with the plans you have for the children in my life.
God has hopes for every child born into the world, and we share that hope when we bring our children for baptism. We hope that they will find God’s love in their lives and the care of Jesus, as John the Baptist did. As they grow older we are happy to see them growing as were John’s parents, and also happy when we see them becoming generous, compassionate and caring for others and committed to making a better world. We hope they can take on the best values we try to pass on.
All of us, young and old, can ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ by our lives – what we say and how we say it, what we do and how we do it.