24th June Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist

As we cannot stream our usual evening prayer and reflection tonight I thought I would write it down here, but it is a bit like homework as it needs a Bible.

Read Luke 1:39-45. As Mary arrives at Elizabeth’s house Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and John leaps with joy in her womb at the arrival of Jesus, also not born yet. But this woman Elizabeth, and her baby, are the first, after the Nativity, to announce the coming of the Saviour. Elizabeth breaks out into prayer and Mary responds with the Magnificat. Do we trust that the promise made to Mary is indeed for us too, as we should? Are we joyful at Jesus being present in our lives? Do we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as Elizabeth did?

Read Jeremiah 1:4-10, 17-19. All prophets hesitate and back off at first from God’s request. What is God asking of me? Am I worthy? I feel as though I am on my own? But God will reassure us.

Read Mark 6:17-29 Perhaps the most famous piece written about John is his death and the dance of Salome. Here is good put beside evil. A beautiful woman, dancing beautifully, beauty, but then distorted for evil purposes, the beautful young woman arrives with the head of an innocent man, dripping with blood, which is seen as a ‘good’ gift for her mother whom she loves. Where can we see such distortion in our world? Child soldiers? Human trafficking? Where do we stand? Are we like Herod who is too afraid of his public to do the right thing?

Read: John 1:29-34 Finally, just finish with John’s great role, pointing out the Saviour, the One who is to come. The one who is good. The one who suffers to bring peace and reconciliation. “I have seen and I am the witness’ he says and urges us to witness too.

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