J. Bap. ...a scriptural abbreviation for John the Baptist used in some scholarly books I have seen.
If nothing else, one thing we can take away from the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist is it's about Who I am and Who I am Called To Be Why is this?
For starters, we are clued into the reality that we are to learn from the whole of St. John's life, from the circumstances that brought him into the world and what he did by the very fact that we not only celebrate his death but also his birth. Typically we do not find ourselves celebrating the birth of too many people throughout the course of the Church year with the exception of our Blessed Mother and of course Jesus (and anyone else I may have forgotten - but only b/c if I did, it's b/c it's rare!)! Therefore, since we celebrate the Nativity of J. Bap, we are alerted to take note of his whole life and what we can learn from it.
There are 3 things that John the Baptist did that we can incorporate into our lives and these 3 things we can say are the "3 Ps" which are POINTER, PROCLAIMER, and PREPARER.
John the Baptist was a POINTER simply by the way he lived. St. John's life's mission was to point to Christ and that he most certainly did. For us, we too, are POINTERS to Christ. This comes simply from the way we live and the decisions we make. Either what we do and who are will point to Christ or by the same token will point in directions not oriented toward Christ. And so we ask ourselves, are my decisions, values, actions, etc. pointing to a life oriented in Christ or not?
J. Bap we know, was also a PROCLAIMER, a sharer of the Good News. John the Baptist told us point blank, to prepare the way of the Lord encouraging people to repent and performing Baptisms of repentence in the Jordan. St. John was very vocal about what his life was about, where it was headed, and what he needed to do to get there. In the same way do we everyday assert the very fact that we are beloved children of God with a specific meaning and purpose? Are our lives oriented towards the promised life to come, lived with a sense of being created for more than what this world can offer? Are we PROCLAIMERS of the Good News by the stories we share? To share The Story means not only the literal telling of a story of faith but also comes in the simple ways we make our faith known. For example, sharing scripture or a prayer or a word of support on someone's facebook page or on your twitter account or on a blog such as this. We are called to be PROCLAIMERS in ways big and small.
Lastly, St. John was a PREPARER and teaches us to do the same. J. Bap literally did prepare the way of the Lord but in doing so, he also taught us how to prepare the way and for some of us that means getting out of the way; an openness if you will to God's will. John the Baptist was faithful to what God called him to do, but he also didn't try to be the Messiah either, in other words, St. John did his job and let God do His. John the Baptist was open to the possibilities of what God would do with preparing the way. Elizabeth and Zechariah too were open to the possibilities of God, of the possibility of having a child in their age and of naming him John (a name not in his family) and what all that would mean. How often do we pray about something without being open to the outcome or the possibilities of God? Sometimes it is easy to pray about something and then try to do everything we can to make the petition happen, rather then allowing God to work it out in the way He knows is best for us or in other words, to simply trust or have faith.
This week let us learn from the life of John the Baptist and realize the POINTER, PROCLAIMER, and PREPARER in each of us and what we need to do allow these 3 Ps to become a greater lived reality.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says, "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." This seems like quite the insurmountable task doesn't it? After all, who on earth has ever been perfect, besides Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary of course?! At the same time this is Jesus' reminder to us of what we are made to live for and that is: GREATNESS. We are made and destined for greatness. Greatness in the way we love, forgive, use our talents and live! So when we hear the Lord tell us to be perfect, it is a reminder to us that this is our goal, that each day we work to perfect ourselves to love perfectly as God has loved us. Therefore, let us strive for greatness in all we do. Amen.
Monday, June 18, 2012
...this line of Jesus' in the Gospel according to Matthew today (Mt. 5:38-42) leads into his challenge to our way of thinking, of turning the other cheek rather than pursuing an eye for an eye. When do we need a change or some Divine intervention in our thought and perspective? When we are pondering a decision or seeking consultation we often hear from others something along the lines of "well so-in-so says..." or "they say..." but when considering these different points of view, do we ever take time to Cross check them against what Jesus and our faith tell us? Or do we accept things we hear without any faitful/faith filled consultation? It is equally, if not more important, to remember that Jesus also said in this Gospel passage "but I say to you." In all we do, may we make choices and decisions based not only upon what we have heard and learned but also upon what Christ and our faith say to us.