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THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR (Vol. 14, n. 30)
The Nativity of John the Baptist
June 24, 2018
“God Called Him from Birth”
(+) In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(A moment of silence)
SONG: Any Eucharistic hymn or any other appropriate song may be sung.
WORDS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE
The Church observes the birth of John as a hallowed event. We have no such commemoration for any other fathers; but it is significant that we celebrate the birthdays of John and of Jesus. This day cannot be passed by … John, then, appears as the boundary between the two testaments, the old and the new. That he is a sort of boundary the Lord himself bears witness, when he speaks of the law and the prophets up until John the Baptist. Thus he represents times past and is the herald of the new era to come. As a representative of the past, he is born of aged parents; as a herald of the new era, he is declared to be a prophet while still in his mother’s womb. For when yet unborn, he leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of the blessed Mary. In that womb he had already been designated a prophet, even before he was born. It was revealed that he was to be Christ’s precursor.
Leader: God our Father,
you raised up John the Baptist
to prepare a perfect people for Christ the Lord.
Give your Church joy in spirit
and guide those who believe in you
into the way of salvation and peace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
JESUS MASTER TRUTH
Listening to the Word
FIRST READING: Is 49:1-6
GOSPEL READING: Lk 1:57-66, 80
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
Today we celebrate the birthday of John the Baptist. Called from birth and given a name from his mother’s womb, the remarkable child will grow and be honed into a “sharp-edged sword”. He will be transformed into an effective prophetic instrument of God’s word. Like a “polished arrow” hidden in God’s quiver, John is to become an incisive weapon to be used at the right time to proclaim the judgment of God. Concealed for a time, the prophet John will appear in the desert to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom and prepare the way for the public ministry of the Messiah. An enigmatic ascetic and a compelling figure in the wilderness of Judea, the Precursor will exhort the people tensed with messianic expectation: “Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins.”
In bearing witness to the person of the Jesus Christ, the true Light that enlightens the world, and in upholding the integrity of moral truth against the malice of King Herod and his partner Herodias, John suffers martyrdom. His death is an intimate participation in the paschal destiny of the Messiah, of which he is a precursor. In sharing intimately the universal work of salvation of Jesus Christ, the words of Yahweh in the Second Servant Song, could also be applied not only to Jesus but also to John: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Is 49:6). In sharing Christ’s saving work in the “here and now” we continue to incarnate the Word of God and make his love real and tangible.
SONG: Any Eucharistic hymn or song of praise may be sung.
JESUS MASTER WAY
Confrontation with the Word
POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART
1. What is the significance of the following Isaiah text from the Second Servant Song: “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name” (Is 49:1b) in relation to John the Baptist whose birthday we celebrate today? What are the implications of his prophetic vocation? How does the vocation and consecration of John the Baptist inspire us? Do we believe that we too have been called by God from birth and entrusted with a particular prophetic mission in today’s world?
2. What are the graces received and experienced by the devout and God-fearing couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth? What is the meaning of the birth of John the Baptist and the name “JOHN” given to him by God from his mother’s womb? How did the neighbors and relatives respond to the saving event experienced by Elizabeth and Zechariah? Like them do we allow ourselves to be filled with joy in the Lord?
3. Do we contemplate devoutly the meaning of the Lord’s baptism and the role of John the Baptist as the precursor of the Messiah? What is the significance for us of John’s baptism of repentance and Jesus’ baptism in the power of the Holy Spirit? Do we endeavor to be like John the Baptist in his mission to point to the Messiah and to bear total witness on his behalf, even to the point of death? Do we reflect intimately and frequently on the second mystery of the Rosary’s “Mysteries of Light”, that is, the Baptism of the Lord at the River Jordan?
PRAYING WITH THE WORD
(Adapted from a prayer, cf. Commission Francophone Cistercienne, La nuit, le jour, 145 (Fiche de chant W LH 160) // Days of the Lord, vol. 9, Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1994, p. 160)
Leader: From his mother’s womb, John will be filled with the Holy Spirit; he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and many will rejoice at his birth.
Assembly: You who watch in the night, joyous is your light. You are the lamp that burns and shines until the coming of the dawn expected for centuries.
Leader: There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came to bear witness to the light, to prepare an upright people for the Lord.
Assembly: You precede daylight. You bear hope. Do enlighten humankind, seeking love, and lead its heart back to innocence.
Leader: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.
Assembly: For the Pasch of God, do prepare our earth! You announce to us a baptism of Fire. May it set aflame the life of all beings.
Leader: Through the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us.
Assembly: Your light is waning; another is revealed. It is God who rises and overtakes you: in the dawn of Christ, perfect joy.
Acting upon the Word
CONTEMPLATING WITH MARY THE FACE OF CHRIST: The Mysteries of Light of the Rosary may be prayed in part or in full.
THE WAY OF SOLIDARITY: PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
Priest: With trust and confidence, let us present our petitions to our loving God who gave us the gift of his Son, the Eucharistic Master. Let us say to him:
(R.) LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER.
1. For the Holy Father’s General Intention for this month of June: that social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences. We pray: (R.)
2. That the various parishes and Institutes all over the world dedicated to St. John the Baptist may experience the abundant blessings due to his intercession and may honor his name with true Christian witnessing. We pray: (R.)
3. hat the Christian disciples of today who are experiencing extreme difficulties and painful trials in their witnessing may be strengthened by the examples of St. John the Baptist. We pray: (R.)
4. For all of us gathered here that we may endeavor to be like John the Baptist in giving witness to truth and in the prophetic stance against the culture of death and falsehood that afflicts our modern society. We pray: (R.)
(Other prayers may be added.)
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Leader: All-powerful God,
help your people to walk the path of salvation.
By following the teaching of John the Baptist,
may we come to your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
FINAL SONG: Any Eucharistic hymn or song of praise may be sung.
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Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang PDDM
PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI
SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER
60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314
Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323