Scripture: 1st Reading: Is49,1-6; Resp. Psalm: Ps139,1-3,13-15; 2nd Reading: Acts13,22-26; Gosp. Accl.: Lk1,76; Gospel: Lk1,57-66,80.
One of the greatest personages that ever lived was St. John the Baptist. The manner of his conception and birth were mysterious. The word of God tells us that his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth had waited for many years for a child and none seemed forthcoming. They were both advanced in years and Elizabeth was already past the age where she could bear child.
So, humanly speaking, all hope was lost. But not for these two faithful children of Abraham. For the tenacity of their faith, God listened when every other indices showed that they were destined for failure. God set aside and briefly suspended His law. God sent His angel Gabriel to tell Zechariah while he was ministering in the Holy of Holies in the Temple that Elizabeth was going to conceive and bear him a son and his name was to be called John.
This order of the Most High became a reality. God spoke. It came to pass. The birth of this great witness brought great joy to his parents. But more importantly, his birth signalled the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise God made to send a Saviour and Redeemer to fallen man.
He lived his mission with sincerity and truth. He was a faithful servant of Yahweh, the God of Israel. He was a fearless and courageous witness. He testified to the truth before everybody with boldness, selflessness and total lack of attention for what might become of him.
John the Baptist was a man of mission, a man on mission who knew exactly what he was being called to by God and responded to it with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. He was a great forerunner who was content with pointing out the Saviour. He called himself the voice and said he was happy that his assignment was complete when he pointed out the Messiah.
John knew the boundaries of his mission. He proclaimed to every one that he was not the Messiah. He said that coming after him was One, the sandals of whose feet he was not worthy to untie. When at last he saw our Lord, He pointed Him out as the Lamb of God.
The word of God in the book of Prophet Isaiah this morning is a prophecy concerning this great man, John the Baptist. He was called by Yahweh from the womb. Yahweh named him, called his name even before he was born. He made his mouth like a sharp sword, hid him in the shadow of His hand and made him into a polished arrow. Yahweh made him His servant. But more than this, He made him a light to the nations, that Hus salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
We rejoice at the commemoration of the birth of this great forerunner of our Lord. We rejoice at the birth of this man who diligently and painstakingly prepared the hearts of the people for the coming of their Lord. We rejoice at his faithfulness to His mission. We reflect on his life and the merits of his birth. We ask that he intercede for us to be faithful to our own mission, to give joy to those who are in sorrow, to restore lost hopes.
Let us pray: "O God, who raised up Saint John the Baptist to make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord, give your people, we pray, the grace of spiritual joys and direct the hearts of all the faithful into the way of salvation and peace." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Happy Weekend.