Today the Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. In the first reading from Isaiah 49, we see prophesies that certainly pertain to the life of John the Baptist. In the second reading from Acts 13, St. Paul tells of how John heralded the coming of the Lord Jesus. And the Gospel reading from Luke 1 tells the story of the naming of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a very important figure in salvation history. Jesus referred to him as the greatest man ever born of a woman, and proclaimed him Elijah. John was the voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord!” He had so many attributes that we can look to and seek to reflect in our own lives.
For me, perhaps the greatest of these was that John didn’t give a hoot what people thought of him. He wore camel hair, ate locusts and wild honey and lived in the desert. I suppose there were probably many who thought he was some sort of nut-job. But John brushed that all off. He was mission-focused. He never once veered from the course that God had set out for him. In the end, it cost him his head. Do we have the courage to be as mission-focused as John? Even if it costs us our head? Chances are it won’t, but you can bet that there will be a cost.
Father, we thank you for the witness and example of St. John the Baptist. We ask you to give us that same clear sense of mission, and the fortitude to stick with that mission regardless of the consequences. Amen.