A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 1:57-66, 80
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 "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.
The Gospel of the Lord Praise be to God
REFLECTION: " What, then, will this child be?"
John the Baptist was born 6 months before his cousin Jesus. This has been called "the Summer Christmas". The name John means "the Lord is gracious".
When he was still in Elizabeth's womb he leapt for joy in the presence of Mary and Jesus. He was filled by the Holy Spirit when he was able to recognize Jesus in the womb.
His central symbol or message was repentance and baptism. He was the precursor of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
God always prepares people for the "Big Coming Events" -- Isaiah and Elijah were prophets preparing the way for the Lord. John was also preparing the way for Jesus. As the prophets of old, John the Baptist, preached repentance and tried to awaken good will to accepting Jesus as the Messiah.
John the Baptist was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness prior to his ministry. He lived in the silence of the desert. One of God's most predictable ways in unleashing the Holy Spirit is the "desert ways". The Holy Spirit is set free most powerfully in the lonely barrenness of our desert, in the poverty of our lives. John the Baptist spent a significant amount of time in the desert, where he tasted and grew in the word of God.
He was humble as he always pointed to Jesus.
He was strong and courageous as he accused and denounced King Herod. He understood his mission--he provided testimony --
1. He baptized Jesus
2. He favorably awakened the public to Jesus .
3. He shed his blood for God
PRAYER: Dear Lord, may we find ourselves in the very desert ways of the Lord, willing to detach from the world and surrender to you, God, and not yield to the comforts of the world and the flesh. Dear God, work most deeply in our desert times--do not allow us to be disheartened when we spend a lot of time in the aridity of the desert for you are preparing us for the gifts of faith, hope and love.
God bless and please pray for priests.