June 24, 2015

John the Baptist's birth

June 24, 2015:  Birth of John the Baptist

See 19 links between the picture
and today's celebration and readings?

Legend below

Listen*

  • John/ Winter (Medical Mission Sisters) (gospel) [leadsheet and note]
Pope Francis
Audience reflecting on Mt 18:6:  No family is immune to words and actions, or their lack, that diminish or kill love.  When they're neglected instead of remedied, they can turn into arrogance and hostility and divide husband and wife who may look elsewhere for understanding.  
The “emptying” of conjugal love spreads resentment, breaks the family, and can bury the children.  Are we anesthetized to the trauma children suffer?  We speak of behavioral disorders, well-being, and anxiety, but what about wounded spirits?  When people hurt each other in families, it crushes children's spirits.
When part of a family is injured, the whole hurts.  Obsessive attachment to personal freedom and gratification is a distortion that damages children.  We have a grave responsibility to caring for the conjugal bond, but sometimes separation is inevitable or even morally necessary (e.g. when spouse or children are subjected to serious injuries caused by arrogance, violence, humiliation, exploitation, non-involvement, and indifference.  
Many, sustained by faith and love, give witness to their loyalty to a relationship they believed in, even when it seems impossible to revive, but some separated couples don't feel this call.  We must help and accompany families living in “irregular” (I dislike the word) situations in a way that the children don't become hostages.
Laudato Sí walkthrough, chap. 6:  "Ecological education and spirituality":  To reshape behavior, education is necessary, at school, in families, in the media, in catechesis, and elsewhere.
Bring healthy pressure to bear on those with political, economic, and social power.  Consumer choices can change how businesses operate and force them to consider their environmental footprint and patterns of production.
Environmental education can affect actions and habits, such as water consumption, sorting of waste, and turning off of unnecessary lights.   Integral ecology also includes gestures breaking with the logic of violence, exploitation, and selfishness. Everything will be easier with a contemplative outlook that comes from faith; we look at the world from within, conscious of the bonds that link us together.  By developing our God-given capacities, ecological conversion can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm.
Sobriety lived freely and consciously is liberating, and happiness means knowing how to limit needs that diminish us and being open to the possibilities life can offer.  We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we share responsibility for others and the world, and that being good is worth it.
St. Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically; he's the model of the bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.  St. Benedict, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Bl. Charles de Foucauld also accompany us on our journey.
The Church recommends regular examination of conscience to orient one's life in light of our relationship with the Lord; it should consider not only how I've lived communion with God, others, and myself but also communion with all creatures and with nature.
Read
Vigil
    Animate
  • 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."
  • 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 for 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; name him John.  Many will rejoice; he'll be great in God's sight, filled with the Spirit.  He'll turn 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....
    "His name is John" (Animate)
  • Acts 13:22-26  Paul:  “God raised up David as king and brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, from his descendants.  John heralded him by proclaiming a baptism of repentance, saying, ‘One is coming after me; I'm not worthy to unfasten his sandals.’  This word of salvation has been sent to you....”
  • 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 is with him."  The child grew and became strong in spirit...
Reflect
      John the Baptist/ El Greco
    • Creighton:  The community thought God was punishing Elizabeth and Zechariah with childlessness, but God's messenger told him she'd conceived.  'Zack,' stunned and disbelieving, was silenced, but once he confirmed the name 'John,' he regained his voice and praised God.  Today we not only celebrate John the Baptist's birth; we also mark the birth of God’s plan in history.    The Prophet of the Messiah came to prepare for the light of Emmanu-el, God with us.
    • One Bread One Body:  "At work in the womb":   While in his mother's womb, John received the Spirit and was instrumental in his mother receiving the Spirit and prophesying.  Then God worked through John and Elizabeth in inspiring Mary to prophesy.  The Lord is doing great works in and through newly conceived children even before they're born....
    • Passionist:  “John is his Name”:  'John' comes from two Hebrew words:  hanna (free gift, unmerited generosity) and Yahweh (God).   John was a gift from God’s kindness, as each of us is.  Our gifts are not the same, and not just for ourselves.  We can underestimate our and others' gifts, but we need them....
      St. John the Baptist
    • DailyScripture.net:  The last verses of the Old Testament speak of the Lord’s messenger, the prophet Elijah, who will return to "turn fathers' hearts to their children and children's to their fathers."  We see the beginning of the prophecy's fulfillment when Gabriel announced to Zechariah John the Baptist's birth and mission.  'John' means "the Lord is gracious".  In the births of John and Jesus God's grace breaks forth into a world broken by sin.  John’s birth shows God's mercy and favor in preparing his people for the coming of its Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  John's life was fueled by the passion to point others to Jesus and to the coming of God's kingdom.  The fire of the Spirit dwelt in John and made him the forerunner of the Messiah.  His message was similar to that of the prophets who chided the people for their unfaithfulness and tried to awaken repentance in them.  Like John the Baptist, the Lord invites us to make our life an offering to God....
    • Universalis:  John the Baptist (only saint other than Mary and Joseph to have two feast days), prophet from before his birth, leaping in the womb to announce Jesus, proclaimed the fulfilment of all prophecies, and so his own obsolescence.  With courage he spread the news that he, was the least in the kingdom of heaven.   See Catholic Encyclopedia.
    Dress legend*
    • '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:  "You're my rock and fortress" (psalm v)
      John the Baptist/ Martin
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God's eyes; John will be great in the sight of the Lord (gospel v)
    • 'Angel' pin:  An angel appeared and spoke to Zechariah (gospel v)
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  John will be filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel v)
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  John will go before the Lord to turn the children of Israel's hearts (gospel v); I found David a man after my own heart (2nd reading d); all who heard these things [re naming of John and restoration of Zechariah's speech] took them to heart (gospel d)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  The Lord 'called' me from birth (1st reading d)
    • '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)
    • White and red shirt, white socks, 'decapitated skeleton' tie pin:  white for today's celebration, red and pin for John's martyrdom
    *:  v=vigil reading, d=daytime reading