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.” (Luke 1:57-66, 80)
John the Baptist was formed in the womb and consecrated to be a prophet to the nations in order to bring God’s people back to Him, and he was already carrying out that consecrated mission from his earliest days.
We all know that and accept that.
Truth is though that all that John the Baptist was still exists. It exists in each of us if we are to be an authentic Christian.
Like John, we are called to recognize who God is, that he is so great and holy that none of us is worthy to loosen the straps of his sandals (Mk 1:7; Lk 3:16; Acts 13:25). This recognition makes the Lord’s desire to stoop down and wash our feet even more mind-blowing (Jn 13:5).
Like John, we recognize that we’re not the Messiah, that we’re not God, which means that we, like John, recognize that we don’t call the shots — God does — and we not only trust in His will by actually say and mean, “thy will, not mine, be done.”
Like John, we need to make straight the paths for God to rule in our life. For John, that meant going out into the desert to pray, fasting on locusts and wild honey, dressing in a way that symbolized his interior repentance and reparation. For us, it means going away from our distractions to pray, fasting and living a penitential and reparative life and adorning ourselves with sacrificial love.
Like John, after we’re living a converted life, we are called to summon others to conversion. John did it at the Jordan River. We’re called to do it wherever our lives take us. We have the mission to help prepare the way for Christ to come into the lives of those around us.
Like John, we’re called on to decrease so that Christ may increase in others’ lives, to grow each day in humility.
Like John, we’re called to point others to the Lamb of God. John did it when he saw Jesus at the Jordan. We’re called to do it by pointing people to him calling us to follow him in the moral life, pointing to him speaking to us in the pages of Sacred Scripture, pointing to him in the thirsty, the hungry, the naked, the stranger, the sick and the imprisoned and encouraging them to respond with the love that God deserves.
No matter what our state of life, or age, or sex, each of us is called to imitate John the Baptist.
What we become in response to our divine destiny is dependent on our choices, on whether we develop or fail to invest the tremendous gifts and calling God gives each of us.
But make no mistake, God is calling and today he reminds you to be John.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are gracious and forgiving towards us. Renew in me the gift of faith that I may believe your promises and obey your word.”
When we respond to his word with trust the Lord fills us with the joy of the Holy Spirit and renews our hope and gratitude for the mercy and gift of new life and salvation, he gives us through Jesus Christ. Do you make your life an offering of thanksgiving to God, along with your family and all that you have and hope to accomplish? God wants to fill us with the joy of his saving presence all the days of our lives, from birth through death. Renew the offering of your life to God and give him thanks for his mercy and favor towards you.