Thursday, June 23, 2016
NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
24 June 2016, Friday
NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
Vigil: Jer 1:4 – 10 / 1 Pt 1:8 – 12 / Lk 1:5 – 17
Day: Is 49:1 – 6 / Acts 13:22 – 26 / Lk 1:57– 66, 80
1st Reading: Is 49: 1 – 6
Listen to me, O islands, pay attention, peoples from distant lands, Yahweh called me from my mother's womb; he pronounced my name before I was born. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a polished arrow set apart in his quiver. He said to me, "You are Israel, my servant, through you I will be known." "I have labored in vain, I thought and spent my strength for nothing." And now Yahweh has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him. He said, "'Tis not enough that you be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob, to bring back the remnant of Israel. I will make you the light of the nations that my salvation will reach to the ends of the earth."
From the 2nd Reading: Acts 13: 23 - 25.
It is from the descendants of David that God has now raised up the promised Savior of Israel, Jesus. Before he appeared, John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for all the people of Israel. As John was ending his life's work, he said: "I am not what you think I am, for after me another one is coming whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
From the Gospel Readings: Lk 1:13, 17, 76 – 77.
But the angel said to Zechariah, "Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John. . . . He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; he will reconcile fathers and children, and lead the disobedient to wisdom and righteousness, in order to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
"And you, my child, shall be called prophet of the Most High, for you shall go before the Lord to prepare the way for him and enable his people to know of their salvation when he comes to forgive their sins."
The first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, from which we have today's Gospel readings, begins not with the account of the birth of Jesus but with the birth of his cousin John the Baptist. In other words, the story of Jesus is not complete without the story of others. And among the many others in the Jesus story, his cousin John had a very special place. Recognizing the importance of John the Baptist, the Church celebrates two key events in John's life. Today we celebrate his birth and on 29 August we celebrate his passion and death. It is clear that John's life is so similar to that of Jesus.
But there is more that relates the life of John to that of Jesus. The mission of John is understood only in the light of the mission of Jesus. Luke's account of John's birth ends with the question, "'what will this child be?' For they understood that the hand of God was with him." (Lk 1: 66b)
What this child came to be was to be the precursor to prepare the way of the longed-for Messiah. John's mission was to prepare the minds and hearts of the people to accept Jesus as their Savior. John's mission was to pave the way in the world of darkness for the Light of the world: "A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light but a witness to introduce the Light." (Jn 1: 6 – 8)
Yes, the story of Jesus and his mission is a story that involves other people, While today our celebration focuses on John the Baptist and his share in the mission of Jesus, our reflection can bring us, each one of us, to consider how we are called to be part of the mission of Jesus More than fifty years ago Vatican Council II reminded us that by our baptism all of us are called to share in the Lord's salvific mission. In his recent visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis stressed the evangelizing call of our Church for the world. The missionary Church is not just the bishops, priests and ecclesiastical officials. The Church is the Church of the People of God, of all the baptized.
Looking around us we see that the mission of Christ is unfinished. John was called to prepare the way for Christ. Today each one of us is also called to be like John, to help our world receive Christ as he comes to us today.
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER DIARY INTENTIONS:
IN MEMORIAM (+)
Juanito Tejada (1914 – 1997)
Benedicto Leon Chang
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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