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Friday, June 24, 2011

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Birth of St. John the Baptizer

Isaiah 49:1-6
Acts 13:22-26
Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15
Luke 1:57-66, 80

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"At that moment his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God." —Luke 1:64

At the celebration of John the Baptizer's birthday, we receive presents, just as we do at the celebration of Christ's birthday, Christmas. Today you, like John, may receive not only a gift but the Giver of the gifts, that is, the Holy Spirit (see Lk 1:15). You may receive the gift of reconciliation between you and your parents or between you and your children (see Lk 1:17). The Lord certainly wants to give you the gift of being baptized into, that is, immersed in, repentance (Acts 13:24). The gift we especially focus on in this teaching is to have your tongue loosed to prophesy, as happened to Zechariah, John's father, eight days after John's birth (Lk 1:64, 67).

Will you seek the gift of prophecy? (1 Cor 14:1) Prophets and prophetesses are usually rejected and even murdered (Lk 11:47ff). Prophets often feel like failures, who have "toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly spent" their strength (Is 49:4). Prophets must repent in order to practice what they prophesy. They are often called to counter-cultural lives of austerity (see Lk 1:80). They must deny themselves and take up the cross many times each day.

On this special birthday celebration, the Lord wants to loose your tongue to prophesy. Will you accept His gift, no matter what?

Prayer:  Father, may I love You so much that I will decide to prophesy and suffer.

Promise:  "I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." —Is 49:6

Praise:  St. John was overjoyed to hear the voice of Jesus (Jn 3:29). He obeyed Jesus' command, and thereby enabled Jesus to be confirmed in His Father's love and baptized in the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:16-17).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Seek Prophecy, or our tape on audio AV 14A-1, AV 14A-3, AV 14B-1 or video V-14A, V-14B.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011

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