When this Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist falls on Sunday, it takes
precedence over the Sunday of Ordinary Time. Immediately we should
recognize that this solemnity is very important for the Church and should
have some importance for us.
Because I usually celebrate the Sunday Vigil mass (Saturday evening) I commented on the readings for that mass, and this weekend we celebrate, not the 12th Sunday, but
the Solemnity of St. John-Baptist
If you attend the Solemnity of St. John-Baptist on Sunday, my comments I hope, will still have meaning for you.
If you attend Eucharist on Sunday click here to review the readings
Saturday Vigil Mass Readings are below after my comments
Zechariah and Old Barren Elizabeth with Child-John the Baptist
How does God work?
We all want God to work in ways that we understand.
When we make a request of God, we want Him to respond in a way that we can understand.
In the first reading we hear that God has called the boy Jeremiah and told him to make God present to others.
Why did God select a boy? Why did God not listen when Jeremiah said he was too young and did not know how to speak about God? Strange isn't it?
Then we hear in the Gospel, how God will bring about the Birth of St. John the Baptist. Zechariah cannot believe what he is told by a messenger from God. How could it possibly happen; his barren old wife become pregnant with child? Impossible.
How does God work in your life? If you think about it, He probably works in ways that seem strange. He works in ways that you may not understand at the time, but when you look back you can see that God was at work.
At our Baptism you and I were called by God, just as Jeremiah was, and we were chosen to make God present to others in our life each day. Today, in those difficult times, when we encounter difficult situations, do we make God present through our patience, our compassion, our understanding, our forgiveness, etc?
Or are we at times like Jeremiah giving excuses? Or are we like Zechariah, who cannot believe how God will work?
Well, I'm sorry, but you and I are called everyday, in every situation, to make God present for others, just as Jeremiah was called to do.
Why are we afraid? Why do we hesitate to say yes to God's call?
In the letter from St. Paul t hat we hear today, the primitive Christian community was given courage and to again recognize that they were to make God present to others.
Perhaps this week is a good time to watch and see how the Lord will call us to make Him present to others, and more likely than not, He will do this in ways that seem strange or unusual to use. Be Ready!!!
Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary
Birth of St. John the Baptist
Saturday Mass Reading for Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist.
In the days of King Josiah, the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, “I know not how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD answered me, Say not, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.
Then the LORD extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying,
See, I place my words in your mouth! This day I set you over nations and over kingdoms, to root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.
1 Peter 1:8–12
Although you have not seen Jesus Christ you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it, investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when he testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you with regard to the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the Good News to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels longed to look.
In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. John will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn their hearts toward their children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”
Click here to see another homily note on the reading for the Sunday celebration of John the Baptist