June 24, 2014

Birth of John the Baptist

June 24, 2014:  Birth of John the Baptist, solemnity

Readings

Vigil

  • Jer 1:4-10  Lord / Jeremiah:  "Before you were born I formed and dedicated you and appointed you prophet." / “I'm too young.” / “Don't say that or be afraid; I'm with you.  You'll go where I send you and speak what I command.  I set you over nations to tear down and build."
    Wordle: Readings 6-24-14 vigil
  • Ps 71:1-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab, 17  "Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength."  Hear, rescue, and deliver me; you're my hope and trust.  I'll declare your justice and salvation.
  • 1 Pt 1:8-12  Though you haven't seen Jesus, you love and believe in him and rejoice as you attain the salvation that prophets searched and investigated...
  • Lk 1:5-17  Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous God's eyes but old and childless.  Angel to Zechariah:  “Your prayer has been heard.  Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  Many will rejoice; he'll be great in God's sight, filled with the Holy Spirit.  He'll turn the children of Israel to the Lord and prepare a people fit for the Lord.
Daytime
  • Is 49:1-6  The Lord called and formed me:  "You're my servant.  Through you Jacob and Israel will be gathered to me.  I'll make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth."
  • Ps 139:1b-3, 13-15  "I praise you, for I am wonderfully made."  You've formed me and know me....
    Wordle: Readings 6-24-14 daytime
  • Acts 13:22-26  Paul:  “God raised up David as king and brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, from his descendants.  John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance, and as he was completing his course, he said, ‘One is coming after me; I'm not worthy to unfasten his sandals.’  This word of salvation has been sent to you sons of Abraham and others who fear God.”
  • Lk 1:57-66, 80  Elizabeth gave birth; her neighbors and relatives rejoiced.  They were going to name him Zechariah, but she said, “No:  John.” / “But none of your relatives has that name.”  They made signs asking his father; he wrote, “John,” all were amazed, his mouth was opened, he spoke blessing God, fear came upon the neighbors, and everyone talked about it:  “What will this child be?  God's hand was with him."  The child grew and became strong in spirit...
Pope Francis
  • Homily:  John the Baptist, the greatest prophet, is a model for Christians in his vocations to prepare, discern, and diminish:
    • John prepared the way for Jesus without taking glory for himself.  People sought and followed him because he was a powerful preacher, but he said he was just preparing the Lord's way.
    • John discerned, among many good people, who the Messiah was.  When he saw Jesus, he told the disciples, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” They looked but let Jesus go on, so John repeated it the next day.
    • John diminished himself so the Lord could grow in others.  This was the hardest, because Jesus didn't behave like John expected.  John, full of doubt, sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was really the chosen one.  John was humiliated through death but also in his doubts, but he remains a model for Christians.
We too must prepare the Lord's way, discern the truth, and diminish ourselves so the Lord may grow in us and others.
Music
  • John/ Winter (Medical Mission Sisters) (gospel) [leadsheet and note]
Reflections
    • Creighton:  God surprises Elizabeth, Zechariah, and us.  God finds us in many ways, as he drew John to the desert to prepare the Lord's way.
    • Passionist:  John defined himself as a voice.  Voice is an expression for word; we're at our best when we voice Jesus' words, and we must be good listeners to achieve intimacy with God or others.
    • DailyScripture.net:  John burned to point others to Christ and the kingdom.  Christ filled him with the Spirit from the start (Lk 1:15, 41); when Mary visited Elizabeth, John leapt in her womb.  The Spirit made John the forerunner of the Messiah, leading him into the wilderness to be tested and grow.  John spoke God's word to awaken listeners' interest, unsettle them, and help them recognize and receive Christ when he came.  God fills us with the Spirit, quickens our faith, and invites us to make our life an offering to him.
    • Universalis:  Only Mary, Joseph, and John the Baptist have two feast days.  John spread the news with courage.  Pray that we never give in to envy.
    Apparel*
    • "Hand" tie pin:  the Lord extended his hand to Jeremiah (1st reading v); "rescue me from the hand of the wicked" (psalm v); "the hand of the Lord was with [John]" (gospel d)
    • "Plant" pin:  "I set you ... to build and to plant" (1st reading v)
    • "Rock" tie pin:  "Be my rock of refuge" (psalm v)
    • "Angel" pin:  An angel appeared and spoke to Zechariah (gospel v)
    • "Sword" tie pin:  The Lord made of me a sharp-edged sword (1st reading d)
    • Sandals (not shown):  "I'm not worthy to unfasten his sandals" (2nd reading d)
    • "Children around the world" tie:  John will turn the children of Israel to the Lord (gospel v); I set you over the nations (1st reading v); I'll make you a light to the nations (1st reading d)
    • "Blood [donor] drop" pin:  martyrdom of John the Baptist
    • White and red shirt:  white for today's celebration, red for John's martyrdom (see Aug. 29 post)
    *:  v=vigil reading, d=daytime reading
    Dress your life!