Today the Holy Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Birth of John The Baptist, and not only is the birth and the circumstances surrounding the birth of John the Baptist presented to us, but the whole sense of purpose - purpose for our lives. Some of the most tragic experiences to have is in meeting persons who have matured in age, but have no clue what their purpose in life has been and as such think that their life has had no meaning.
The person of John the Baptist is something of an mystery for us because he seemed to have existed completely outside of the 'normal' world. From what the bible tells us, he lived apart from everyone else, he dressed differently and he even ate differently from everyone else. Even his birth and how he was named was different from what was the norm in those days. The norm was for him to have carried his father's name; - ahh but God had a other plans for him; and so he was called John, a name that means "God is Gracious." Bear this in mind as we go along.
God created John, just as He has created all of us - for a particular mission. Every single person that has ever been created and that ever will be created, has been and will be created with a particular plan that has been crafted out by our Heavenly Father. We see this in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah,
The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Even though John was so radically different from the rest of society, people still left the 'comfort' of their normal existence to go out to hear what John the Baptist had to say. This is because his life was built on truth and there was no compromise in what he said, what he did or how he lived. People hunger for truth even though their lives are built on lies, and when you life is built on truth, they will gravitate to you.
From the moment of conception of John, he was set apart by God for a particular ministry - to be the one who would herald the birth of Jesus; to be the voice that cries in the wilderness "prepare ye the way of the Lord." He is the one that would point the way to Christ, who would lead others to Christ - "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world". The call of John and his response to that call should certainly remind us all of the call on our lives to be evangelists - bearers of the "Good News", the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therein lies our purpose; therein lies our reason for existence.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for." Here is where the basic problem of the entire human race begins. We are constantly trying to fill that which was meant to be filled by God with other things.
Boeing is probably the largest manufacturer of all different types of aircrafts in the world. From passenger planes to war crafts to cargo planes, all were made to run on aircraft fuel. Now suppose that someone who purchased some of these planes thought that the cost of aircraft fuel was too high, and has decided to substitute it with some other fuel or to dilute it, what do you thing would happen? Chances are the plane would malfunction and may even crash. This is precisely what is happening to the entire human race and with our world. We are seeking to substitute truth with lies, to replace God with other things, to take God out of our schools, replace the truth of God with immorality of every conceivable kind, leaving it up to our children when they grow up to decide for themself whether or not they should believe in God; living as if the same Jesus Christ that John the Baptist heralded so many years ago, never came, never died and never rose; and the list goes on and on. We are trying to fly our Boeing 747 passenger planes on gasoline that was meant for use in passenger cars. And we dare to wonder why our world is in the state it is in.
The readings today remind us that we all have been set apart by God for His purpose; that each of us has a mission that has been assigned to us by God; - one that only we alone can do. The beauty of it all is that when we seek to earnestly discover what that plan is and to live in that plan, the world becomes a much better place. Its like a light has been turned on in your world.
The songwriter wrote:-
As a candle is consumed by the passion of the flame
Spilling light unsparingly throughout a darkened room
Let us burn to know Him deeper
Then our service flaming bright
Will radiate his passions
And blaze with holy light
To love the Lord our God
Is the heartbeat of our mission
The spring from which our service overflows
Across the street
Or around the world
The mission's still the same
Proclaim and live the Truth
In Jesus' name
Father God in Heaven, we praise and we thank you for this day and for the Solemnity of the Birth Of John The Baptist. Give us the grace O Lord in our individual lives to recognise that we were created by you and for you and that nothing else and no one else can take your place. Give us the grace to love you O Lord more than life itself and to seek daily to do your will and in so doing, discover your purpose and your mission for our lives. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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