Friday, June 24, 2016

How we are all Called to be Heralds of Christ: The Solemnity of St. John the Baptist

Luke 1:57-66, 80: The Feast of John the Baptist
In this passage from Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist is clearly paralleled with the prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 49:1-6). The prophet Isaiah, in this context, is a type of Jesus but if examined carefully, Isaiah can be a type of John the Baptist, too. John is the herald of Jesus.

Elizabeth, after she was visited and waited upon by Mary carrying Jesus, gives birth to John. Neighbors and relatives rejoice at John’s birth and how good the Lord has been to the elderly couple in blessing them with a child. At the child’s bris, Zechariah gives John his name.  The drama of this scene is beautiful.  Zachariah, in his excitement and knowing God’s will “ask[s] for a tablet and [writes], 'John is his name,' and all [are] amazed” (62). This is the same name that Gabriel reveals in (Luke 1:13).  Miraculously, Zechariah gets his voice back and immediately praises God (64). The birth of John the Baptist to a faithful elderly couple and Zechariah’s muteness miraculously healed create in the neighbors a sense of awe and reverence for God. Naturally, they speak to all of the people in Judea about the blessings they witness.

We are all consecrated to be the heralds and representatives of Jesus in this world. Much like John the Baptist in first-century Judea, we are called and created to represent Christ in the way that God wills specifically for each of us. May our lives, through our thoughts, words, and acts of love, represent the gifts and love of Christ.