June 24, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Luke 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.

Reflection (Sem. Tommy Gawain Lira):

     Today is the feast of Saint John the Baptist. We heard from the Gospel how faith works to someone who believes. Faith can do things beyond our imagination. Even Elizabeth, advancing in age, gave birth to a son named John proves that faith can move God to show great mercy towards her.  If we have a faith the size of a mustard seed we can uproot a tree and transfer it somewhere else, it can even move mountains. That’s faith. How great is faith!

     Faith is not a kind of force that scatters all our darkness but is a kind of lamp ‘ilaw’ or power which guides our steps in the night and sustains us in our journey as pilgrims. The kind of light that we need during these times must be taller and brighter for people to see the path they are walking; for the people to make it easier to walk and safer to travel. And this light is our faith, the kind of faith that we need during these times, so people may see and believe, so people may hear and believe! John the Baptist having that great faith lightens the path that leads to Jesus so that people may not stumble and fall into the darkness. As a precursor, he makes sure that he prepares the way for our Redeemer.

     Faith is not a kind of routine that we do every day. Our devotional practices and prayers are good but this kind of faith that God is asking us is not just for our personal self-respect, or nobility or refinement but a faith that makes the other person making it easier and safer for them to travel towards God.  The faith that is beyond our head, not based on feelings, not based on our works, not self centered but rather it is Christ centered. Because through Christ we will never grow weary but stay alight and aflame even in worst situations because he is the light that never fades and continuously burning to lighten the way of his children.

     Our faith must be taller than us, must be brighter than us, must be Christ centered. We need to look up to see the heavens taller than us. But the moment we look down we only see ourselves and our weakness will tempt us to sin. Without that faith it is impossible to do greater things. That is why if we have faith taller than us, brighter than us, then the impossible becomes possible and comes easy to share as bearers of light to enlighten others.

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