Ps 139:1b-3, 13-15
Luke 1:57-66, 80
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
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.
Good News Reflection: How are you like John the Baptist?
On this day that celebrates the birth of John the Baptist, look at how much you and John the Baptist are alike!
God assigned John’s vocation to him at his birth and gave him his name while he was still in his mother’s womb. The Lord did the same with you! Since the moment of your conception, even before you looked human and had a beating heart and a brain that could think, he named you as his precious child.
God gifted John with a sharp-edged sword, i.e., the ability to speak the truth (the sword of the Spirit), which cuts through the lies and deceptions of evil. He gave you the same gift during your baptism when you received the Holy Spirit.
God concealed John in the shadow of his arm, i.e., he protected him. No matter how difficult your life has been, and no matter how often you strayed from the Lord, you still belong to him. He is holding onto you.
Even though you sometimes toil in vain and your efforts to do God’s work seem worthless, as if you’ve uselessly spent your strength, like John, your reward is with the Lord. He will reward you generously.
No matter how ugly you think you are, no matter if you are too short or too tall or diseased or malformed by a birth defect, you look glorious to the Lord, your Creator. The verses of today’s responsorial Psalm confirm this: You are wonderfully made! Since the moment of your conception, your life has been precious and important.
As it was with John, God is your strength. And like John, what you think you can do is “too little” compared to what he knows you can do. He has a more important use for your gifts and talents and experiences and training. He wants to make his light shine through you! His salvation will reach others as long as you’re willing to serve him.
What our Gospel reading today tells us of John is true of you also: You are God’s child, growing and becoming strong in spirit. You have experienced the desert of hardships and training. Everything that has happened to you can become valuable and useful when you let God send you forth in service for his kingdom.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
Using Isaiah 49:1-6, how do the words reflect your own life? What is most surprising to you? Why? Do you see yourself as less useful to the kingdom of God than he sees you?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
God has wonderfully made you and each member of your family or group. Tell each other at least one thing that is evidence that God made a masterpiece when he created him/her. How is this useful to God?
For a pro-life leaflet and parish hand-out on these readings, see catholicdr.com/calendar/June/JohnBaptizer.htm
Praised be to You, Lord, because Your paths are always new and perfect. I want to be docile and bold, so that by Your grace I may journey on them with joy. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica