Saturday, June 23, 2012
June 24, 2012: Nativity of John the Baptist
The First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah explains: “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. 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.” How many of us carry past hurts and memories within us that determine or influence the actions of our daily lives. Having heard the background stories on these students, it was evident that the efforts of Major Bailey and his wife Barbara have had a significant impact on the lives and future of these students. This couple has sacrificed their weekends to take them to events all over the state, so that these students could gain confidence about themselves and gain a broader and more hopeful future for their life.
This is what John the Baptist did with his own life. The hand of the Lord was with him, and he grew strong in the Holy Spirit. He was a model servant, knowing that God called him from his mother’s womb to be God’s instrument. His life and message to people was conversion--to turn their life around and to awaken themselves to God who was calling them to know Jesus, who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. John spent his life serving God tirelessly, and the reward for his work was knowing that someone who was touched by his work, came to realize that they were also called to be God’s servant. John also knew that this was God’s work not his. John was humble enough to know when to be out of the way when Jesus arrived. John pointed to Jesus, not to himself. This is why we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist as a great solemnity in the church calendar.
Have you ever thought about yourself as John the Baptist? Yourself as a man or woman after God’s own heart? Have you ever given a thought that God called you from birth, anointed you with His Spirit, and sent you to live your life not for yourself, but to help awaken in others what they have been called to be? We see that from Major Bailey and his wife’s dedication to these students, the result of changed lives. They also know that it was God who was actually doing the work of transformation. Major Bailey and his wife simply point the students to Jesus. We are called to do the same, for the same Holy Spirit who anointed John the Baptist, anoints us, for the same love of God which enveloped John, envelops us. We have received all that’s necessary to point to Jesus with our lives just as John the Baptist.