Wednesday, June 24, 2015

John the Baptist: Jesus' relative, friend and recipient of salvation: Daily Mass Homily--June 25th, 2015 (Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist)

(Listen to this homily here).

            Here’s a riddle to start your day—what do John the Baptist and Kermit the Frog have in common?  [Silence].  They have the same middle name.  [Insert crickets sound effect].  Get it—the?  [Awkward laughs].  Wow, tough crowd this morning.  And I stayed up all night thinking of that!
            Moving on, we do have a great solemnity this morning of the birth of St. John the Baptist.  He was the bridge between the Old and New Testament and the herald of the Messiah.
            While much could be said about St. John the Baptist, this morning I want to share the ways he was in relationship with Christ.
            First, John and Jesus were related by blood.  Remember how Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth (John’s mother)?  Thus they were in fact related by blood.
            Second, John was called the friend of the bridegroom.  He himself says: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.”  In a modern context, this title is similar to a best man at a wedding. 
            Finally, John saw Jesus as his savior.  While John baptized Jesus, Jesus saved John!  Thus John uttered a simple line that we should all memorize and know well: “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).
            Brothers and sisters, we are called to relate to Jesus in similar ways.  While we are not related to Jesus by blood, we are indeed his brothers and sisters.  By his coming as a man, we became adopted sons and daughters of God!
            We, too, are called to be friends of Jesus.  Jesus specifically said, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
            Finally, Jesus is the one and only savior.  We are sinners—Jesus the savior.
            Following the example of St. John the Baptist, may we proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the world.  May we live today as his brothers and sisters—as his friends.

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