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Mar 25th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. The Vocation of John the Baptist, an Advent Figure
The Vocation of John the Baptist, an Advent Figure PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Saturday, 06 December 2008 17:50

B ehold, the Lord will come . . . The Savior is about to arrive and nobody notices anything. The world goes on as usual, completely oblivious. Only Mary knows –  and Joseph who has been told by the angel. The world is in darkness. Christ is still in Mary’s womb. And there are the Jews, still arguing about the Messiah, without any idea that he is so near . . . Few people are expecting the Consolation of Israel: Simeon, Anna . . . We are in Advent, a time of waiting.


During this liturgical period the Church proposes the figure of John the Baptist for our meditation. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he spoke of: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight (Matt 3:3).


The Precursor As We Prepare the Way of the Lord

 The Messiah’s coming was preceded by prophets who announced his arrival from afar, like heralds who announce the arrival of a great king. John appears as the dividing line between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. Our Lord himself teaches something about John when He talks about ‘the law and the prophets down to John the Baptist’. He is the personification of antiquity and the announcement of new times. As representing antiquity, he is born to elderly parents. As one who is a harbinger of new times, he shows that he has been a prophet from his mother’s womb. He has not yet been born when, at Our Lady’s arrival, he leaps for joy inside his mother (cf Luke 1:76-77). John is called ‘the prophet of the Most High’, because his mission is ‘to go before the Lord to prepare his ways, teaching the knowledge of salvation to his people’ (St. Augustine, Sermon 293,2).


The whole of John’s life is determined by this mission, even from his mother’s womb. This is to be his vocation. His whole purpose will be to prepare, for Jesus, a people capable of receiving the Kingdom of God. At the same time he is to give public testimony of Him. John will not seek personal fulfillment through his work but has come to prepare a perfect people for the Lord. He will not do it because it appeals to him, but because it was for this very purpose he was conceived. This is what all apostolate is about: forgetting oneself and fostering a true concern for others.


In his own place and circumstances, each man has a God-given vocation. The divine will desires many other things that depend on the fulfillment of that vocation. Many great things depend – don’t forget it – on whether you and I live our lives as God wants (J. Escrivá, The Way,755). Do we bring the people around us closer to God? Do we give good example in the way we carry out our work, in our family circle, in our social relations? Do we speak about God to our colleagues or fellow-students? # # #


With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at


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Last Updated on Saturday, 06 December 2008 17:51

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