Sunday/Feastday THE NATIVITY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST 24/6
A reading from the first book of the Prophet Isaiah 49:1-6
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
He made my mouth a sharp sword,
and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow,
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified.’
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing.’
And all the while my cause was with the Lord,
my reward was with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.
And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
to gather Israel to him:
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 138
Response I thank you for the wonder of my being.
1. O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you. Response
2. For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation. Response
3. Already you knew my soul,
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and moulded in the depths of the earth. Response
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26
Jesus’ coming was heralded.
Paul said: ‘God made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’
The Word of the Lord.
Gospel Acclamation Lk 1: 76
As for you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High.
You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare the way for him..
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:57-66. 80
His name is John.
The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Gospel Reflection The Nativity of John the Baptist 24/6 Luke 1:57-66, 80
John the Baptist is the only saint, after Jesus himself, whose birth the church celebrates with a solemn feast. We celebrate the birth of John the Baptist on June 24th, six months before we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. The celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas coincides more or less with the winter solstice. Just as the light of the sun begins to make a comeback after darkness has reached its peak, we celebrate the birth of the light of the world. The celebration of the birth of John the Baptist coincides, in contrast, with the summer solstice. Just as the light of the sun begins to decrease, after reaching its peak, we celebrate the birth of the one who said, Jesus ‘must increase, but I must decrease’. The question of the neighbours and relations ask of the child John in the gospel reading, ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ could be asked of any of us. It is a question that could be asked of us at any stage of our lives, ‘What will I turn out to be?’, or to put the question in other terms, ‘Who is God calling me to be’? ‘What is God’s purpose for my life?’ God’s purpose for John’s life and God’s purpose for all our lives have a great deal in common. God wants all of us to do what John did, to point out the Saviour, to make way for Jesus, to lead others to him by what we say and do. John the Baptist, whose birth we celebrate today, has something to teach us about how we might keep faithful to this God-given calling. He was a man of the desert, a man of prayer. We all need to find our own desert place of prayer if we are to remain true to our calling to lead others to the Lord, if we are to turn out as God wants us to.
The scripture readings are taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers. http://dltbooks.com/
The Gospel reflection comes from: Weekday Reflections for the Liturgical Year 2017/2018; ‘LET THE WORD OF GOD DWELL IN YOU’ by Martin Hogan, published by The Messenger c/f