June 24, 2012 – The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
From the moment of his miraculous conception, John the Baptist was called to a life of service to God. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, it is important to note that even before he was born, the scriptures tell us that God had a plan for 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 in his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. … and will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (Lk. 1:13-16).
And we see God’s plan being fulfilled through John’s public ministry. Often referred to as the “precursor of the Messiah,” John gave his life to preaching about the coming of the kingdom, heralding the Messiah’s entrance into history. John gave his life to God, and because of his selfless service, because he was willing to live for the Lord, many converted through his witness.
John was indeed a saintly man, one whose life serves as an example to all of us, and even more than that, his story serves to open our eyes to the call we have all received.
As the Scripture readings today remind us, we have all been called to serve the Lord. “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb He gave me my name. He made me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of His arm.” (first reading). From the moment of our conceptions, Christ destined us for greatness, called us to be a light to the nations, to show forth his glory. ” You are my servant, He said to me, Israel through whom I show my glory. … I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth” (first reading).
We recognize that, while we are called to greatness, we are but Christ’s servants. Our lives ought to proclaim His glory, not our own. We hear St. John emphasize to this in today’s second reading: “What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of His feet” (second reading). With a spirit of humility, like that of St, John’s, we give everything we are and everything we have back to God in order that He may be glorified through us.
If we have accepted the call as disciples of Christ, then that is our mission, that is our duty, that is where we will find great happiness and fulfillment – in proclaiming God’s glory to the world.
We do this by living our lives — as fathers, mothers, doctors, writers, priests, laymen, etc. — for others. We do this by living in the world but not of it, showing our fellow men that there is much more to life than the here and now, that we are called to a deep relationship with our savior, culminating in life everlasting with Him. We show forth Christ’s glory by living our every day life with an attitude of gratitude, recognizing that everything we have is a gift from the Lord and using it in thanksgiving to Him for His generosity.
Choosing to answer Christ’s call on our lives means choosing to live radical lives for Him — to put Him first in all we do and in the decisions we make — at home, at church, at work, and elsewhere. By doing so, just like John the Baptist did, we are capable of bringing others to Christ, of showing forth Christ’s glory, of proclaiming His truth to the world.
Indeed, the call to discipleship is not reserved for the few and far between. He calls us all. Will we choose to answer? Will we choose to give Him our all? Will our lives make a difference that that of St. John?
Give Christ your “yes.” Give Him your all. He will use you for greatness, just like He used St. John.