Reading and meditation on the Word of God, Thursday of the 12th week in ordinary time

Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist

June 24, 2021

Reading is delivered by Mayolisia Ekayanti from Saint Ann Church of Duren Sawit in Jakarta, Indonesia and Brother Widhy, SDB from the Salesian School of Theology in Manila, Philippines

Isaiah 49: 1-6; Rs pslam 139: 1-3.13-14ab.14c-15; Acts of the Apostles 13: 22-26; Luke 1: 57-66.80

The reading is taken from the holy Gospel according to Luke

In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving
as priest in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
John will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn their hearts toward their children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

The theme for our meditation today is: The Red Carpet of John the Baptist. In the Church both East and West which is known as Roman Catholic, this day is celebrated as the birthday of John the Baptist. We celebrate it as a solemnitybecause we see in John a very important role that he had performed in the work of Jesus Christ on earth.

The news about John’s birth as a special gift in the lives of Zakaria and Elisabeth was already a great news that indeed astounded many people. The following was his mission which was so fundamental, namely to prepare people to welcome Jesus Christ. For the Israelites, the Messiah should be the great king with all the powers and was so expected to bring a new life of peacefulness and sovereignty. Therefore, a preparation for His coming must be the best one.People seemed to believe that John was working for such kind of Messiah in Jesus Christ.

The person of John from the womb of his mother Elisabeth, then his birth, and his mission had been so fundamental similar to a red carpet for welcoming the great king Jesus Christ. John had astonished the world and has proposed a new light of life, even people as evil as the king Herod were just afraid of him. However, John himself admited that Jesus was much greater than he was. He offered himself to be a red carpet that stretched across the ground as an open and honorable way for Jesus Christ to come and walked on it.

The birth of John the Baptist really gives us the meaning of a mission or duty that reflects the nature of our calling. Each one of us has one particular calling. The name “John” given to him meant to be “God of mercy”. According to the book of the prophet Isaiah, every name of human person has been made since he or she was in the mother’s womb. To call that person by a particular name signifies the specific duty or mission that he or she will take after his or her birth. So the birth of every human person is already in the plan of God. None of us born by chance or accidentally.

John had prepared the way for the Principal and Source of graces to come into the world to dispel sin and to bring salvation. We can actually use every grace bestowed by God, especially through the sacraments we have received to get rid of sin, to renew this life, and to embrace a new life. Having a new life doesn’t make us proud or maybearrogant, and to take is simply as a fun. Our new life should remain wonderful in the style of John the Baptist who became a red carpet for the Lord, especially in our services to others. Let other people know that God is doing servicesfor them and not we who do services to them.

Let’s pray. In the name of the Father… O benevolent Lord, may through this solemnity of birthday of John the Baptist strengthen our spirit to always live in Your grace. Glory to the Father…In the name of the Father…

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