God has a plan for everyone and it is up to us discover this. As we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, we can wonder what it would be like to have Jesus for our first cousin. But it will be far more productive for us to listen to what God has to say about His will for our lives than focus on something that has more to do with someone else.
1 Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. 2 He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. 3 “You are my servant,” he said to me, “Israel, through whom I show my glory.” 4 Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God. 5 For now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength! 6 “It is too little,” he says, “for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
P S A L M
Psalm 139:1-3, 13-14, 14-15
R: I praise You, for I am wonderfully made.
1 O Lord, you have probed me, you know me: 2 you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. 3 My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar. (R) 13 Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. 14 I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. (R) My soul also you knew full well; 15 nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret, when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth. (R)
Even though Jesus is his first cousin, John acknowledges His preeminence by saying that he is not worthy to undo Jesus’ sandal. This humility is important to reflect upon as it is the basis of obedience in our lives. Without humility it will not be possible to be a disciple of Jesus. Without humility, we will never be willing to even listen to the will of God for us.
22 In those days, Paul said: “God raised up David as king; of him God testified, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.’ 23 From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. 24 John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; 25 and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’ 26 My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this Word of Salvation has been sent.”
John matured in the wilderness. He must have had a sense that he had an important role to play in the work of God, and so he set aside time to prepare himself in a place where there would be few distractions. Today’s world is precisely the opposite to this. It is full of distractions. I cannot help thinking that if we are truly to hear the voice of God clearly, we have to be very disciplined in setting aside times when that is our sole focus.
You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will gobefore the Lord to prepare his way.
Luke 1:57-66, 80
57 When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” 61 But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” 62 So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. 63 He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. 65 Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 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. 80 The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
think: Without humility it will not be possible to be a disciple of Jesus.
BEING GREAT, BEING HOLY
It’s funny how very staunch Catholics now fall for the fad popularized by the big media networks — feng shui! Of late, rival networks have been bringing in so-called experts from Hong Kong and elsewhere to bring the “good news” of feng shui.
Feng shui, horoscopes, astrology — they are all alike. Unknown forces, undefined factors (to the uninitiated) are manipulated, given a semblance of control or modified, in the hope that they would lead towards a desired goal and future or, at the very least, avoid the undesirable ones. While they all can be given a thin veneer of spirituality and made to appear compatible with Christian faith, they really have nothing to do with faith in a personal God, who is the ultimate Lord of history and author of our glorious destiny.
St. John the Baptist was a great man by any standard. There is greatness in being simple and humble. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said this: “Nothing is simpler than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” Still, that greatness starts from the pole of the human, the earthly, from the individual himself, who happens to have that particular virtue.
Let us look at it from the vantage point of God. This time, what do we see? I see a God who chooses. I see a God who calls. I see, too, a God who qualifies whom He calls. And what do I learn? I learn that this God who chooses and calls is the very same One who forms, prepares and qualifies the called.
It happened with John the Baptist. “Yahweh called me when I was in the womb; before my birth He had pronounced my name.” His simplicity brought him greatness, but God’s call gave him much more than greatness. I learn that God and man need to work together, and John the Baptist is a shining example of the triumph of God’s grace and human effort. Holy. Simple. Great. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTION: God is calling you. Are you ready to be formed?
Thank You, Lord, for calling me to service. Thank You also for preparing me for my mission. I offer everything to You.
source: forwarded to my inbox from kyregma.com