Sunday, June 24, 2012
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Isaiah 49:1-6 Acts 13:22-25 Luke 1:57-66:80
“The Birth and Mission of John the Baptist.”
In the first reading from Isaiah, we read some famous lines that could be said by any one of us because each one of us is special in God’s eyes.
“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb
he gave me my name.…and my God is now my strength.”
Do we look to God for strength when we are feeling weak?
The psalm response from Ps. 139 simply says: “I praise you for I am wonderfully made.” No one of us would have low self-esteem and feel negative about ourselves if we really believed this. If we stop and take time to list our gifts and good qualities, to ponder the intricacies of the human body, of the mind and the emotions, we would be utterly amazed and deeply grateful to God, our Creator. We also might look at others differently for they, too, are wonderfully made.
The second reading from Acts speaks of John’s mission and of his humility. He clearly states that he is not the Messiah but the one who is to point him out to the world. He also says: “I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.” John the Baptist knows his own identity and knows his mission. Wouldn’t it be great and easier if we were as clear about who we are and what we are to do? That is the work we must do in prayer and discernment, always asking the questions and looking to God for wisdom in discovering the answers. That is what it means to live consciously and mindfully.
The Gospel is a dramatic and picturesque story of John’s birth and his naming. Both of these involved direct intervention by the God of Israel because this child was to be a prophet and the one who would be the voice in the desert proclaiming the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. John’s parents and neighbors were in awe of all these events.
Our own birth or that of our children may not have all this drama. But surely each of us is precious to God and special to our families. Each of us is called by God for a mission in life. The key is to discover it by being attentive to our gifts and talents and listening to the whispering of God in our hearts.
As I write this, I have another thought about this feast. It is for those of French Canadian descent and for all our friends and relatives living in the province of Quebec because St. John the Baptist is their Patron Saint. This feast is an occasion of great celebration in Quebec.
To all of us in St. Mary’s Health System, I hope you all know how special you are and my prayer is that we be faithful to our mission “to continue the healing ministry of the Catholic Church in the spirit of St. Marquerite d’Youville by providing preventive, curative, restorative and supportive services with compassion and respect for everyone.”
Sr. Suzanne Beaudoin, SSCh
Pastoral Care Director
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