The Witness of John the Baptist
The entire existence of the Forerunner of Jesus was nourished by his relationship with God, particularly the period he spent in desert regions (cf. Lk 1:80). The desert regions are places of temptation but also where man acquires a sense of his own poverty, because once deprived of material support and security, he understands that the only steadfast reference point is God himself. John the Baptist, however, is not only a man of prayer, in permanent contact with God, but also a guide in this relationship. The Evangelist Luke, recalling the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, the Our Father, notes that the request was formulated by the disciples in these words: Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his own disciples (cf. Lk 11:1)….
Celebrating the martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist reminds us too, Christians of this time, that with love for Christ, for his words and for the Truth, we cannot stoop to compromises. The Truth is Truth; there are no compromises. Christian life demands, so to speak, the “martyrdom” of daily fidelity to the Gospel, the courage, that is, to let Christ grow within us and let him be the One who guides our thought and our actions. However, this can happen in our life only if we have a solid relationship with God. Prayer is not time wasted, it does not take away time from our activities, even apostolic activities, but exactly the opposite is true: only if we are able to have a faithful, constant, and trusting life of prayer will God himself give us the ability and strength to live happily and serenely, to surmount difficulties, and to witness courageously to him. Saint John the Baptist, intercede for us, that we may be ever able to preserve the primacy of God in our life.
Pope Benedict XVI
The third Sunday and week of Advent
Christ’s coming is Good News to those who are aware of their emptiness and need. For them it is a cause for rejoicing. It spells loss, however, for those who are full of themselves, their own importance, and their possessions. (Magnificat, Dec 16, 2017)
He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly,/ to heal the brokenhearted, / To proclaim liberty to the captives/ and release to the prisoners. (Is 61:1)
He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth,
the seas and all they contain.
It is he who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,
the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
and upholds the widow and orphan.
It is the Lord who loves the just
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
Zion’s God, from age to age.
Let our hearts be open and may He find his rest there, in our hearts, as he rested in the manger with Mary and Joseph. So it is with hope, faith, peace and joy may we actively participate in Christ’s arrival during this beautiful season of Advent.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.
Holy Family pray for us … Amen.