The Birth of John the Baptist
I praise you Lord, for I am wonderfully made. I am created in the image and likeness of God. But even more, I am called by God “child.” I have received life for eternal life. Today we celebrate the Baptist’s birth because he introduced to the world what was necessary for our salvation: Repentance and The Lamb of God.
One thing I seek; to dwell in the house of the Lord (Priority)
Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will follow. If we want to be holy, then we must put our life in order: First God, then others. This is the life of the Baptist. He put God first, because he sought Him first. He was the first to rejoice in the arrival of the Lord – even from his mother’s womb! His message was the first step of salvation: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3:2). He was the first to identify Him: “This is the Lamb of God.” He was the first to cry out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”, and the first to cry out as a believer from a prison cell. His life was the Lord’s. “He must increase, I must decrease.” He was the first to live out what
would live out. “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.” St. Paul
His message was coherent to his life (Coherency)
Love cannot only be preached, it must be lived. St. John preached repentance and he lived an austere life. His life was coherent to his preaching. He prayed, he knew Scripture and he suffered so that he could love and forgive. There is, in the life of John, a tremendous sense of peace. He knows who he is and why he is here. Happiness occurred in his life because he did what was good. He allowed his own apostles to abandon him and to follow the Lord – he held no possessions and he held on to no one. His joy came when the Lord surprised him by asking for baptism. “It is I needing to be baptized and you come to me?” Obedience and humility are the ingredients for joy and peace.
Make straight the path (Living through Adversity)
John was created to make straight the path of the Lord - to help remove the wooden beams from the strangers’ eyes and place them on Christ’s shoulder. The Lord’s baptism inaugurates his death and resurrection. The path to salvation is made easy for all of us – nice and straight. Repentance leads to forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to mercy and compassion. Compassion allows us to accept the splinter in our own eye, thus allowing us to carry some of the burden of salvation. A new understanding of God, man and salvation is heralded by the last and greatest prophet. St. John the Baptist lives forever because he lived for God – and for others. The two great commandments of the Lord!