(Part 47)


June 24, 2014
Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
Today’s gospel: Luke 1:57-80

John was special. Jesus himself said, “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist” (Mt 11:11a). When Mary visited Elizabeth, John leaped in his mother’s womb (Lk 1:41). Now “Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied” (Lk 1:67). He spoke about John, but what he said should also be about all of us. Just like John who prepared the way of the Lord, we are empowered to witness to Jesus and his salvation.

We are called to holiness. We are “to be mindful of his holy covenant …. in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Lk 1:72b,75). We are to be holy as God is holy. We strive for Christian perfection. We are saints.

We are called to witness. Our calling is the same as John. “And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Lk 1:76-77). Ours is a prophetic calling. We are to help bring people to repentance and faith in Jesus. We proclaim the gospel of salvation. We prepare for the second coming of Jesus. Now John was martyred. We too die to self, and even actually might be called on to give up our very lives. We are martyrs.

We are called to mission. When we evangelize, we engage in spiritual warfare. We face a diabolical enemy, who hates God and hates all who belong to God. Now Jesus has already won the victory. We are assured of “salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us” (Lk 1:71). We are “rescued from the hand of enemies” (Lk 1:74a). We go off into battle and should be fearless. We are warriors.

So we go off­saints, martyrs, warriors­and do the work of the New Evangelization, “to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow” (Lk 1:79a).

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