Good morning, happy Wednesday, and blessings.
In today’s gospel (Luke 1:57, 66.80) we remember the life of John the Baptist. In this story John the Baptist is born and they are going to name him after his dad, but his mum says “no – his name is John”. They don’t believe her and so his dad writes on a tablet that his name is John and they believed him. Nevertheless, like you and me, John the Baptist was born with a purpose.
We need to recognize that John the Baptist holds a place of special honor in the church; he is acknowledged as the last of the prophets – standing, as he did, on the watershed between the Old and the New Testaments – and, more importantly, he is the precursor, the forerunner, the one who went ahead to prepare the way for Jesus’s ministry.
I wonder how John learned of this calling. Can't you hear his parents reciting daily the words of the angel? And can't you see him hear the whispering neighbors as he passed in play? My guess is from early on John knew others thought him special. I am glad no such burden will ever be place upon me.
Which made me wonder: It may have been easy for John to forgo all the accoutrements of his culture. He may have been so saturated with the Holy Spirit that leaving all, forsaking the loved and known may have been no challenge at all, but I doubt it. No, I think this special calling was dense and heavy with loss. I think he may have carried it well, but at least in the beginning there were tears and questions and fears.
What must be remembered is that the gift of solitude and rather deserted communion must be learned. This may be an opportunity with the pandemic. And to think otherwise in John's life or in any other religious is to think beyond his humanity, a thought of which GOD will have no part.
I have no doubt when I say that everyone is born with a purpose. And that purpose is to recognize and glorify God through preaching his message of salvific liberation. In the same way, we must point people to the Christ. John the Baptist could have taken advantage of the opportunity to exalt himself among the people's eyes, but he did not. He actually just wanted to fulfill his role: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30).
Today I invite you to recite this prayer: Truly, the hand of God was is with him. I certainly don't have a mission as important as John's, but whatever I am called to be, I know that the hand of God is with me. I thank God for his powerful Presence in my life and ask her to strengthen my faith.
And I want you to understand that our discipleship, like John’s, is to challenge the injustice of our times, to subvert those popular customs that distract from God and that oppress humanity, to embrace the Christian life to which we were all called, and to point people towards Jesus Christ – the only source of true life.