This week we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist on Sunday. That is unusual in two ways. First, feast days don’t normally trump the Sunday liturgy. Second, it is the death of a saint that their feast day falls on – not their birth. These facts point to both the importance of John the Baptist and his connectedness to our Lord and the Blessed Mother. John was totally and completely focused on his mission – to be the herald of Jesus Christ, to prepare the way for our Lord’s presence and salvific action. From the very first moment, when Mary visited Elizabeth, John ‘leapt’ for joy in the womb. He had great passion even then. He like Mary humbly accepted his role and pointed all toward Christ. He called all to come to God with no hesitation and clarity of both voice and actions.
As Vincentians, we too should leap for joy to be able to be messengers of the Good News of the gospel. We are called to come in total humility but with an unquenchable passion for our Lord. Through our actions and words, we should be helping others to come to know and follow our Lord. Through our actions we make His love, his mercy and His hope come to light. Am I a true messenger for God, focusing all on only His goodness and love? Do I take great joy in all that He calls me to, accepting it without hesitation?
Lord Jesus, John prepared the way for you, let me help to prepare the way for others to come to know you. Give me the humility to point all toward you as their salvation. Help me to passionately embrace the ministry you call me to. Grace me with the ability to embrace your will, fully, completely and passionately. We pray all of this in your name. Amen
“Lord, it is good to give thanks to you!” These words of our Responsorial Psalm are recited by us several times. We are reminded through the readings that we do not know all of God’s ways but we accept in great faith all that He wills for us. He speaks to us in ways that we can understand and when we are ready to hear. He invites us into His kingdom. We are reminded to look past the challenges in our lives, to grow in faith and love, and to give thanks to him always.
As Vincentians, we should share this message of hope and thanksgiving with all those we encounter. We should be present to them where they are at and be conduits of God’s love continually inviting them in faith to see beyond the challenges to the hope and love of Christ. Do I give proper thanks to God for the many blessings in my life? Do I help others to see beyond their challenges to the blessings they have? Do I provide comfort and presence to others as the mustard seed plant does to all the creatures of heaven?
Lord Jesus, you continually bless me with many riches. Let me always see past my challenges to that which you give to me and let me be ever grateful for all that I have. Allow me to be your presence to others that they may sense the love and the hope that you offer to each of us. Help us to walk in faith, ever confident in your Divine Plan and Divine goodness for each of us. We pray all of this in your name. Amen
There is a flow to the readings from this week which lead us to one conviction – the need to above all else hear the will of God, listen to the will of God and do the will of God! Adam and Eve violated God’s will and became afraid as they were separated from God’s will. They heard His will but chose not to listen. In our responsorial psalm we are reminded though of God’s great mercy. “With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.” His plan of mercy and redemption was set in motion and became evident with the arrival and passion of our Lord Jesus. In the gospel Jesus reminds us that following God’s will is what united us first and foremost – even more than family. “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
As Vincentians, we are called to trust in God’s plan, seek His will, and submit to His will in humility and self-sacrifice with passion and mercy. In short, we are called to hear His will, listen to His will and do His will. We accomplish this first and foremost through prayerful discernment of that will for us and those He brings before us in our ministry. Do I faithfully enter into prayerful discernment every day and before all decisions I make? Do I seek His will or do I seek to make my will acceptable to Him? Do I embrace His will for me and those around me or do I try to hide from it?
Lord Jesus, help me to slow down and listen through prayerful discernment for your will in my life. Give me the courage to accept that will and to embrace it as my own. Allow me to walk humbly in your presence filled with mercy and compassion. Take from me my prejudices, allow me to set aside my concerns and help me to passionately pursue your mercy for all others. We pray all of this in your name. Amen
This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi). It reminds us of the greatest gift ever given – the gift of Jesus – His body and blood, soul and divinity. It is the source and summit of our faith and our nourishment. It also reminds us of the tremendous sacrifice of Jesus and the burdens he took on for our salvation. He gave His body and blood – literally – that we might have a path to salvation. And He continues to give His body and blood – literally – in the Eucharist that we might be nourished for the journey. We begin the week recalling the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, a reminder of the total giving of herself to the will of God for all of us. The actions of Jesus and Mary alike are the ultimate examples of self-sacrifice and complete humility in recognizing and submitting to the Divine Plan. Both bring great passion and zeal to their respective sacrifices.
As Vincentians, we are called to follow in these steps of humility, self-sacrifice and zeal in all we do. We offer not just our help but our very selves for those whom God brings before us. We do so nourished by our Lord Jesus through the gift of the Eucharist. Do I bring myself humbly before the Lord, seeking not only His guidance but the intimacy of the Eucharist on a frequent basis? Do I give of myself, with empathy, mercy and compassion to those whom I serve?
Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of yourself, both on the cross and in the Eucharist. I yearn for your nourishment, I yearn for your love. Give me the grace to always come before you in great humility. Allow me to accept all that you ask of me, giving freely of myself to those who are in need. Let me act with passion that I may be faithful to your spirit and example. We pray all of this in your name. Amen