Monday, June 24, 2013
Talking no longer impresses anyone, especially now with the explosion of information; everyone talks about everything. We must give WITNESS and only in this way will we be able to propagate the Gospel.
"Help each other to live and to grow in the Christian faith so as to be valiant witnesses of the Lord. Be united, but not closed. Be humble, but not fearful. Be simple, but not naive. Be thoughtful, but not complicated. Enter into dialogue with others, but be yourselves." - Pope Benedict XVI, Genoa, Italy, May 18, 2008
Gospel Text: (LK 1:57-66, 80)
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.
Today, we solemnly celebrate the Nativity of the Baptist. St. John is a man of contrasts: he lives in the silence of the desert, but right from there he appeals to the crowds with convincing voice inviting them to convert; he is humble enough to say he is only the voice, not the Word, but he does not mince his words and dares to accuse and denounce all injustices even to the very king; he urges his disciples to meet with Jesus, but he does not mind rebuking king Herod while he is in prison. Silent and humble, he is also strong and courageous enough to shed his blood. John the Baptist is a great man!, the greatest of them all, as Jesus himself will say in praise, but he is only Christ's precursor.
Perhaps, the secret of his greatness is the realization of knowing he has been chosen by God; this is how the evangelist explains it: «And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel» (Lk 1:80). All his childhood and youth was marked by the understanding of his mission: to provide testimony; which he does by baptizing Christ in the river Jordan, by favorably disposing the crowds for the Lord and, at the end of his life, by shedding his blood in favor of the truth.
Similarly to John the Baptist, whether you realize it or not through our baptism, we have been all chosen and sent to bear witness of the Lord, in an environment of indifference. Yes, that means you!
In any age the truth will always meet opposition. Jesus makes this very clear to those wishing to be his disciples. In any age, there are those who hear only what they want to hear. In any age, there are those who will do anything in order to continue living a lie - even kill.
John the Baptist is still relevant for us because as in any age, our age has an urgent need for disciples like John the Baptist.
Our world has an urgent need for witnesses.
We must witness that our identity is centered on true spirituality, and that our morality derives from that spirituality.
We must witness that our faith challenges many of the values of the dominant secular culture.
We must witness that our traditions have great meaning for us.
We must witness that challenging commitments offer firm principles by which we may live our lives.
We must witness that adherence to traditional morality often comes at a considerable personal cost: perhaps of losing family, friends, even jobs.
We must witness that what we have found in Christ Jesus is true, real and worth living out to the ultimate consequence.
We must witness that our seeking solely for lasting happiness as the meaning of life is an indictment of the falsehoods of past generations.
We must witness by striving for personal holiness, authenticity and integration. Witness has no room for complacency, hypocrisy, or self-indulgence.
To be a witness in this way is not an easy task. We may stumble and fall many times. However, the Lord will magnify our frail efforts into enormous accomplishments for the fulfillment of his salvific plan.
Posted by Joe Reciniello at 6:56 AM