Homily Notes - The Nativity of John the Baptist

I am not preaching a Homily this weekend but after reading through the readings I had a few thoughts that might make listening to the readings and Homily at your Mass tonight or tomorrow more fulfilling.

First: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm: 70
Second: 1 Peter 1:8-12
Gospel: Luke 1:5-17

John the Baptist, a descendant of Aaron, was born to a hard life. A life of few luxuries and much hard work. A life that would see him, while still in the womb as the first to recognise Christ. John's life was to be lived as a prophet, bringing the people of Israel back to God, preparing them to be read for Christ's ministry and message.

John must have been a hugely capable and humble man. Ready and able to do what was required, to say what needed to be said. But humble enough to do what was asked of him and not what must have been tempting to do. As Christ came forward so John stepped back, directing his own disciples towards Christ. The date of this Solemnity is 6 month from Christmas and the Nativity of Jesus. It is also the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere so daylight will mirror spiritual light, from now on John's light will grow less until Christmas, when Christ's light will then grow.

The Gospel today is about Zechariah. A priest because he was descended from Aaron. A fortunate priest because he has been chosen to burn incense in the Lords Sanctuary. This was rare, incense was burned every day but that meant that only 365 priests could be given that honour each year and there could have been about 20,000 priests throughout Israel at that time. This was a real privilege and Zechariah knew that.

Zechariah was a good man, worthy in the sight of God, he and his wife followed all the commandments. So you have to believe he went into the Sanctuary prayerfully. Maybe even bringing his own heartache and troubles before the Lord, the lack of children in his marriage.

Messages for us today:
- When we bring our worries to the Lord, do so prayerfully, listen for an answer, be aware of the difference a holy building or space can make to your prayers, to your ability to focus, to listen, to be ready to meet the Lord.
- John was undoubtedly a talented man. He didn't envy Christ, he didn't compete with Christ. He stepped back doing what God asked him to do, and not what he was tempted to do.
- John lead by example, his life was hard, prayerful, taking nothing for himself but given to God. Do we lead others by our example, and if we do what is our example and where are we leading others. Is it towards God?

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