Category Archives: John the Baptist

Give it away

Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) The Sermon of St John the Baptist oil on oak, 1566 Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts

Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569)
The Sermon of St John the Baptist
oil on oak, 1566
Budapest, Museum of Fine Arts

How many coats do I have? Jackets? Sweaters? What if I were to give one away to someone who has none.

How many cans, bottles, boxes, packages of food are in my cupboards? What if I were to give some away to the hungry.

God’s prophets point us to the Way of generous awareness of the needs of others.

[John the Baptist said to them,] “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none.  And whoever has food should do likewise.” Luke 3:11

At any moment

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (1806-1858) Head of St. John the Baptist oil on paper mounted on canvas, 1837-1857 Tretyakov Gallery

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (1806-1858)
Head of St. John the Baptist
oil on paper mounted on canvas, 1837-1857
Tretyakov Gallery

At any point in our temporal history, the Word of God may come to us and lead us to become prophetic witnesses to the presence of God in our midst.

The Word of God may call us to speak out against prejudice, greed, and violence, and point the way to acceptance, generosity, and peace.

The Word of God may show us how to let go of resentment, self-centeredness, and arrogance, and teach us the way of forgiveness, service to those in need, and humble awareness of our dependence on God.

The Word of God may clarify our purpose in life: to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors, to bring comfort to the afflicted, to use our gifts and talents in the service of God’s whole human family.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar… during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. Luke 3:1, 2

Respond to the voices

A voice cries out in the wilderness

“A voice cries out in the wilderness”
Israeli wall around the West Bank

[John] said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,'” as Isaiah the prophet said.” John 1:23

Jesus does not exist apart from human struggles, human injustice, human atrocities. The voices I hear calling from war-torn countries show me where to find Jesus: right in the middle of it all.

How will I respond to the voices calling to me today? How will I make straight the way of the Lord in the midst of human suffering?

 

 

Wake up call

2_candlesJohn the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4

The gospel is our every day wake up call: a call to love, to help the poor, to show compassion to all people.

It’s a call to spend time in quiet prayer and meditation, to read holy scripture, to deepen our relationship with Jesus.

The gospel wakes us up to the reality of God’s presence in our world, in our lives, in our being.

Today I will trust the wake up call of the gospel and ask the Lord to bless me with knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry it out.

 

Pointing to Jesus

Giovanni_di_Paolo_-_Ecce_Agnus_Dei

Ecce Agnus Dei, 1455/60
Giovanni di Paolo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
John 1:29

John points to Jesus as the one who will be sacrificed to save us. Yet I like to meditate on Jesus as the one who came to be with us because of God’s great love for us; who suffered pain and understands our suffering when we are in pain; who struggled with human emotions such as sorrow and anger and understands our struggles to move through grief and let go of resentment; who patiently teaches us, prays with us, and eats with us; who died and rose from the dead to give us the hope of eternal life in perfect love and union with God.

Down at the Jordan

Adi_Holzer_Werksverzeichnis_849_Die_Taufe

John the Baptist baptizes Jesus.
Handcolored etching The baptism by Adi Holzer 1997 (Work number 849). A part of the Rosentaler Suite from the year 1997.

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him.
Matthew 3:16

With his baptism at the Jordan, Jesus shows us our calling, our blessing, our privilege: rising into the place of Divine Union with God and the Holy Spirit.