Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Birthday of John The Baptist. There are only 3 birthdays that we celebrate in the Catholic Liturgy. Jesus Christ our savior: December 25th. Mother Mary: Sep 8 and John the Baptist: June 24. (We celebrate the feasts of Saints on their death date) In all of Scripture there were only three who were filled with the Holy Spirit in the wombs of their mothers prior to being born – Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist.
These three persons receive the pride of place in our Faith life. We can look at it this way:
- John the Baptist PREPARED the way
- Jesus Christ SHOWED the way
- Mother Mary PRAYS along the way to our Salvation (now and at the hour of our death)
The focus of John the Baptist Message is “Be Prepared”. When we look at our lives, we find ourselves constantly preparing for something. We prepare for events, we prepare for studies, we prepare for marriage, we prepare for employment, we prepare for tours and holidays, we prepare ourselves for impending problems…,
Can we stop on the feast of John the Baptist and ask ourselves “AM I MAKING SPIRITUAL PREPARTIONS EVERYDAY?”– St. John Bosco introduced a meditation “Preparing for a happy death”, an exercise that he taught his boys.
In most families, when its time for marriage, we prepare for the venue for the celebration, decorations, the menu (food), the dress and finally come to the priest for the ‘spiritual part’- Some people even request for a ‘crash course’ in marriage instruction. Lets think about Baptism and Holy Communion. How many of us parents prepare ourselves spiritually before our child is to be baptized? How many of us prepare ourselves spiritually before receiving Holy Communion or before participating in the Holy Mass? (How many of us choose to come at least 5 minutes early to make a spiritual preparation before mass?)
John the Baptist was attempting to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah- Jesus. He was attempting to cleanse the minds of people. But some of them had written him off. They even considered him insane and refused his message.
It happens to us too. We become prejudiced with those who preach to us. We shut off our minds and hearts to the message because we don’t like the messenger. We refuse to accept the message.
John the Baptist was God’s reminder, God’s Signpost, God’s last milestone, God’s wake-up call, to prepare for receiving Christ.
Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great had a boy in his palace whose only job every morning and evening was to remind him “Your majesty, remember today you may die”.
What reminders have we set for ourselves to prepare ourselves spiritually everyday? Have we set time aside in our dairies for spiritual exercises? How much of our day do we give for prayer? What preparations are we giving priority to?