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SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST, JUNE 24, 2021


Ottavio Vannini | The Pointer


A Gospel according to Lk 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 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.


REFLECTION:

“What, then, will this child be?”


Saint John the Baptist is known for many things: He was conceived when his parents were of very advanced age. He was the first one to recognize the unborn Jesus while in the womb himself. He proclaimed the coming of our savior "crying out in the desert" (Mk 1:3).


So, what did St. John the Baptist end up being?


St. John didn't see himself as "important". When asked if he was the Messiah, he denied it (Jn 3:28). He could have easily said, "sure", or "not really, but I am his cousin/buddy/paladin..."


Instead he does and says something that would be pretty unpopular then, and nowadays. He humbly compares himself with the bridegroom, happy that the groom has his bride, and rejoices in his voice (Jn 3:29). And proclaims:

He must increase; I must decrease. (Jn 3:30)

I say this is a very unpopular thing to say because in today's society, we deeply care of other's perception towards ourselves.


Look at how much social media has power over our lives. Most of the time, people post only the the great things they do: travel, party, have a great time. And we always upload the best pictures of ourselves.


Have you noticed how this trend has changed us over the last 10 years, and now we put great importance over loving ourselves for our own sake? If this was not true, then why are there way more cosmetic procedures available to us now than ever? Did you know that people go through great lengths on changing their faces completely so they can look good on webcams? (both with surgical procedures and with software filters).


There is more lust, vainglory, and narcissism all around us, than probably ever in our lifetime.


All these, point at us. Point at me.


Yet, I like to think it is "them" who do those things. But it is not true. I do the same things everybody else does.


I hate when my family takes candid pictures of me "when I am not ready". I am working on this, and letting it be. At the end of my life, and beyond, the majority of these pictures will be gone.


There are other places where it is hard to be humble. At work, where one could think that we have to be prideful and boastful in order to advance from our position is an example.


So, how can we learn to be "Meek and Humble of Heart"? (Mt 11:29)


St. Vincent Ferrer, on his Homily on the Last Judgement gives us 5 points to follow:

1. Simple Innocence:

First, the first virtue is when a man lives simply, nor hurts anyone in his heart, by hating, nor by defaming in speech, nor striking with hands, nor by stealing, and so such a life is called simple innocence, which makes a man a sheep of Christ.

2. Ample Mercy:

When goods, both temporal and spiritual given to you by God, are given out and distributed to the needy. This is how one becomes a sheep of Christ.

3. Steadfast Patience:

When a man suffering from injuries inflicted or spoken to him does not want to concern himself with taking revenge. Rather he loves everyone in general, and prays for them all. This virtue makes a man a sheep of Christ.

4. True Obedience:

When a man in his life does not do anything neither in thinking, nor speaking, nor acting according to his own will and inclination but according to the divine will and ordination, such a one is a sheep of Christ.

5. Worthy Penance:

Because no one can be exempt from sins. And so it is said: “For there is no just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not,” (Eccl 7:21). Therefore worthy penance is necessary, by sorrowing for sins and proposing not to relapse, confessing, and making satisfaction. And in this way penance makes a man a sheep of Christ.


Let's say the Breathing Jesus prayer every day, and ask Jesus to envelop our hearts inside His Sacred Heart. So when people see us, we don't vainglory, but instead we point them towards Him.


God bless y'all.

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