Liturgical Colour: White.
1st Reading: IS 49:1-6
R Psalm: PS 139: 1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15.
2nd Reading: ACTS 13: 22-26
Gospel: LK 1: 57-66, 80.
Today we briefly take a step away from Ordinary Time, to come together to Commemorate the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
John was the forerunner sent to pave the way for the coming of the Lord. If we take a look at today’s first reading of IS 49: 1-6, we are told:
The Lord called me from birth from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm: You are my servant, he said to me, through whom I show my glory…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.
We can clearly see from this scripture that the Lord wants to save his people, he wishes to restore us and to raise us up. However, it was (and is), a necessity to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord into the world. This was the purpose as to John the Baptist being sent as the forerunner, to prepare the people for his coming.
At the heart of preparation of the people for the coming of the Lord, was (and still is) repentance, as we can clearly see in this scripture of Matt 3:1:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near! Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
But what does to repent truly mean? It is far too easy for us to believe that it merely means that we are sorry for our sins! To truly repent is far more than this, it is to come to a new mind, to have a whole new way of thinking and to put the Lord as our first priority, foregoing worldly notions to gain heavenly wisdom and readiness.
So how is all this relevant to us today?
If we look at John the Baptist, we can and should also learn about ourselves in terms of our duties and service as ministers of God. Just as John was, we ought to be steeped in God’s word, and in the true teachings of the church. We should announce to all what God reveals to us and to see all things through his light. We are to summon God’s people to the truth if all that God proclaims, and to expose lies and errors for what they are, Just as John did in his ministry.
Just as John the Baptist was the forerunner sent to prepare the way for the Lord coming amongst us on the earth, we are now like John before us, the forerunners who are sent to prepare the people for the return of the Lord in glory, so that all will be ready and well adjusted to the radiance of the salvation of the Lord’s love, and will be conformed to be as suitable as is possible for His heavenly Kingdom. In short, we are the John the Baptist’s of the modern age.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, by whose Providence thy servant John the Baptist was born and sent to prepare the people for the coming of your Son, our Saviour, by preaching repentance. Make us also follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent and following his example, to prepare the way for the second coming of your Son, our Lord and Saviour, only speaking the truth of your word and rebuking all else, and to patiently accept suffering for your Truth’s sake, to your glory.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.