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Feast of John the Baptist – my struggles can make me a polished arrow

June 19, 2012

Download Reflection – 12th Sunday Yr B – Feast of John the Baptist

Reflection Questions

  1. The celebration of the Birth of John the Baptist is a very early christian celebration dating back to the 4th century. John is like a bridge, linking the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the greatest of prophets pointing to the promised Messiah – Jesus. Today we are reminded of the importance of prophets and people who ‘point the way’.  Are we willing to enter the discipline of prayer and having an open ear and heart? Undergo ‘desert training’ of purification and moulding? Are we willing to speak the ‘hard word’?
  2. Isaiah writes of 4 poems or songs of the ‘suffering servant’. The third song is presented today. Have you ever felt like you had ‘toiled in vain’, ‘spent all your strength’ felt as good for nothing and ‘useless’? Yet God has been gradually using these experiences to make you ‘sharp’. Sanding and polishing you into an arrow, storing you in his quiver, ready to be used to bring God glory. Consider the hard times of suffering. How has this strengthened and sharpened and polished you?
  3. What do you consider is your ‘calling’ from God. Are you thinking ‘too little’, just being a servant when in fact God wishes you to be  a ‘light to the nations’?
  4. Paul is speaking to Jewish listeners in a town called Pisidia. They understood they were waiting for the promised Messiah, a descendant of David. Paul shares with them this long awaited person – Messiah – has already been and gone! Did they not know!? Many people ‘wait’ for salvation and healing of the world. Have you considered what they ‘wait’ for? Hope to ‘see’? Could they see this in your life?
  5. An incredible amount of silent work of the Holy Spirit takes place with Elizabeth and Zechariah and John. Naming their new-born boy ‘John’ breaks from custom and shows they are obedient (to the Angel and the Spirit) and open to the new way of God working. Painfully, John will not follow his Father and be a priest in the Jewish Temple. Instead he will leave the city and be part of the Qumran community in the desert.  He will eventually emerge as a prophet calling God’s family to wash again in the waters of the Jordan – renew and start again the entry into the promised Land, this time truly becoming a ‘light for all nations’. Consider the experience of Elizabeth. Zechariah. John. Disciples of John. Jewish people. What part of John’s life can you identify with? What part do you rebel from?
  6. ‘What then will this child be’? Circumcision, 8 days after the child is born, marked ‘baptism’ and ‘belonging’ to God. Have you prayed openly to God for your children, brothers, sisters, for the grace of baptism and their ‘special calling’ to be stirred up and real? To become strong in spirit? What gifts do you see in them? Have you spoken to them about this?
  7. The desert has a special place in the memory of Jewish people. It was a place of God luring his chosen bride and people closer to him. It involved testing, proving, preparation. Could you create more desert time in ‘prayer’ so you can hear from God how you are to ‘manifest’ ‘show’ and live your life in the Church (Israel)?
  8. What is one action that you will do to be ‘livingtheword’ this week?



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