Daily Reflection – June 24, 2016
Friday 24 June 2016
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
I praise you, for I am wonderfully made
Psalm 138(139):1-3, 13-15
Second Reading: Acts 13:22-26
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:57-66, 80
Today’s Feast: Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
What, then, will this child be? (Luke 1:66)
What do you think is the most impressive thing about John the Baptist? His uncompromising zeal for the Lord? His clear, passionate preaching? Maybe his gift of self-denial or the humility he displayed despite his fame?
How about this—that even before he was born, John leapt for joy in the presence of Mary and Jesus. Imagine: here was an unborn baby, barely aware of life outside of the womb, and yet the muffled, quiet sound of Mary’s greeting filled him with the Holy Spirit and caused such a dramatic reaction.
This leap may remind us of Isaac’s wife, Rebecca, who also felt an unusual amount of activity from the twins in her womb. Rebecca asked the Lord why this was happening, and he told her that something spiritual and prophetic was going on inside of her (Genesis 25:20-23). King David also leaped before the ark of the covenant as he brought it to its place of honor in Jerusalem. He loved God so much he could not contain himself (2 Samuel 6:14-15). The prophet Isaiah wrote that in the age to come, when the glory of the Lord is made manifest, the lame will leap for joy (35:4-6).
John’s leaping shows us that there is a part of us that can recognize God, regardless of what we do or who we are. It’s encoded into the way he made us, whether we are children in the womb like John, great kings like David, or the poor and afflicted described by Isaiah. It’s in all of us, and it’s something that the Holy Spirit wants to bring to life. He wants all of us to be able to recognize Jesus and rejoice in his presence, even if Jesus comes to us in unlikely, humble ways, just as he did for John.
So on this great feast day, let’s honor John the Baptist for all that he did for Jesus and for us. John truly is one of the greatest saints of the Church. But let’s never forget that the relationship between John and Jesus is something we all can experience. You too can leap for joy as you prepare this world for the coming of Christ the King!
“Lord, I want to see you. Come show yourself to me, and fill my heart with joy.”