The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
The first reading reveals that putting our hope in man rather than in God is a false hope. The second reading shows us that belief is an action that calls for a response. We live the way we really believe. The Gospel tells us that hypocrisy is defeated by truth.
This week, make a list of what areas in your life are a hypocrisy, and then confess that one area to a Christian brother or sister, so that he or she may pray that you will be healed (James 5:16). Pick out someone from your family, job, or school and be specific. Remember, the prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). The truth of Christ will really set you free from hypocrisy (John 8:32). In one week you will experience a tremendous healing. Write to us and share how God has answered your prayer.
- What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what Personal? application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 49:1-6 FIRST READING (“I will make you a light to the Nations.”)
- When did the Lord call his servant and from where did he give him his name? Isaiah 49:1
- When did the Lord know and dedicate the prophet Jeremiah and to what did he appoint him? Jeremiah 1:5
- What did the Lord make of his servant and where did he conceal him? Isaiah 49:2
- What is the sword of the Spirit? Ephesians 6:17
- Who did the Lord say is his servant and what does he show through him? Isaiah 49:3
- Where is the servants reward and what has he done? Isaiah 49:4
- How did the Lord form me and for what reason has he done this? Isaiah 49:5
- What is his servant made in the eyes of the Lord and who has been his strength? Isaiah 49:5
- What is to small a thing for his servant to do? Isaiah 49:6
- What will God make his servant and for what reason does he do this? Isaiah 49:6
Personal – In what way have you been a servant to the Lord and a light to those in your family, with your friends, at school or in the workplace?
THIRD DAY READ ACTS 13:22-26 SECOND READING (“….to us the word of salvation has been sent.”)
- Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking? Acts 13:16
- Who did the Lord raise up as king? Acts 13:21-22
- What did Samuel say will happen to you if you do not obey the Lord? 1 Samuel 12:15
- Why did the Lord take the kingdom from Saul and give it to David? 1 Samuel 28:17-18
- Who did God promise would come from David’s descendents? Acts 13:23
- Who heralded his coming and what did he proclaim? Acts 13:24
- Why must we repent? Matthew 3:2
- As John was completing his course what did he say? Acts 13:25
- What has been sent to the children of Abraham, and those others among them who are God-fearing? Acts 13:26
- What was in the beginning, what did it become, and who is the word? John 1:1, 14
Personal – How are you heralding the coming of the Lord? What has been the result?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 1:57-66, 80 GOSPEL READING (“John is his name?”)
- Who is the wife of Zechariah and who was she filled with when she heard Mary’s greeting? Luke 1:41
- When the time arrived, Elizabeth gave birth to whom? Luke 1:57
- What did the Lord show Elizabeth and what did the neighbors and relatives do with her? Luke 1:58
- What did they come to do on the eighth day and what were they going to call the child? Luke 1:59
- What did Elizabeth say the name of the child would be? Luke 1:60
- What did those present say to Elizabeth and who did they turn to making signs? Luke 1:62
- Why was Zechariah speechless? Luke 1:19-20
- When Zechariah wrote John’s name on the tablet what happened to him and who did he bless? Luke 1:64
- What came upon their neighbors as they discussed all these things and what did they do and say? Luke 1:65-66
- In what did the child become strong, and where was he until the day of his manifestation to Israel? Luke 1:80
Personal – In what specific way has the word of the Lord come to you and how have you carried it out or how have you failed to carry it out? Reflect on listening and obeying the Lord and the way God moves through our obedience or disobedience.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 139:1-3, 13-15 (“….my days were shaped, before one came to be.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your daily spiritual life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
This chapter of Isaiah is called the book of consolation because Isaiah tells in powerful terms not only of the restoration of Judah but also of the coming servant to be the Messiah King. The restoration is firm because they must return to their own land to prepare the way for the coming Messiah also known as the suffering servant who is to redeem his people. This passage is about being chosen to be a light in the darkness.
This prophesy is about a suffering servant who was called from the womb of his mother. His name was chosen while he was still in his mother’s womb. Isaiah tells us that God will make his words of judgment very sharp. God has hidden his servant in the shadow of His hand. He is like a sharp arrow in God’s quiver. He knew his servant before he was even born. He is commissioned by the Lord to go forth and be a light of salvation to the whole world. Before his servant was born God dedicated him to serve as a prophet to the nations.
Today we see that light drawing all those in darkness to it. It is the light of salvation and we have been called, just like Isaiah, to go forth and make disciples of all nations by taking up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and proclaiming His salvation. Like His servant when God asks us, who shall I send, we too will say “send me”. Let those around you see that light of Christ within you draw them out of their darkness and come out into the light of salvation.
The heart of this passage is John the Baptist who heralded Jesus’ coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance. John’s message was “Repent the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John would say to the people what do you say that T am? I am not he. Behold one is coming after me and I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.. Our scripture opens with King David being raised up to replace King Saul, who was the first king of Israel. God called David a man after my own heart. From the line of King David’s descendants came the savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
John went about challenging all to repent or perish. He lived in the wilderness and his diet was locusts and honey. Today he would be considered crude and offensive and would most likely be arrested and sent to prison. Today there is a lack of outrage for the many immoral acts that are committed in our schools, communities. We see in many situations that evil does succeed, simply because good men do nothing. We might ask where the John the Baptists are in today’s societies. John knew who the Truth was and he defended Him with his heart and his life. John was beheaded upon the request of Salome the dancing daughter of Herodias, the illegitimate wife of the King.
LUKE 1:57-66, 80
Scripture says when it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a baby boy (Luke 1:57) Scripture doesn’t tell us the ages of Zechariah and Elizabeth but we can well imagine that they were in their sixties or seventies when they had their child. Can you imagine some one giving up all hope for a child, and still becoming pregnant for the first time? Every one expected the child to be named after his father, but the angel told Zacharias that he was to name the boy John. Relatives and friends objected because the name John was not in the family tree. They thought the baby should be named after his father and to carry on the family name.
God claimed John and it was normally the father’s privilege to choose a child’s name. The act of naming someone can also show a cherished parent-child relationship. God was claiming a special calling that he had in mind. He knew that John would be the forerunner of the Messiah. Names chosen by God have a special meaning; John means The Lord is merciful. This blessing has been passed on to all of us because Mercy is for those that do not deserve it.
The first reading reveals the servant of the Lord is made to be a light to the nations. The second reading calls us to prepare the way of the Lord by proclaiming a baptism of repentance. The gospel calls us to be obedient to the Word of the Lord.
Let us examine our conscience and see if there are any area’s of disobedience. Share this with someone you trust.