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Sunday, June 24, 2012

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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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"Look for the One Who comes after me." —Acts 13:25

When John the Baptizer saw Jesus, he didn't say: "There's Jesus" or "There's the Savior" or "There's the Messiah." Rather, he said: "There is the Lamb of God" (Jn 1:29). The Church does the same thing right before Holy Communion. The priest holds up the Host, but he doesn't say: "This is Communion" or "This is Jesus." Instead, he proclaims: "This is the Lamb of God."

The Jewish people think of a lamb differently than we do. For them, a lamb is primarily the Passover lamb, the ultimate symbol of freedom (Ex 12:3). This lamb was used by the Lord to free the entire Israelite nation from hundreds of years of slavery.

Today we celebrate the birthday of John the Baptizer. John still points us to Jesus, the Lamb of God. When we believe in Jesus, we will be freed from discouragement (see Is 49:4ff) and spiritual paralysis (see Lk 1:64) by being freed from sin, the cause of these evils (Acts 13:24).

We don't have to wait till the Fourth of July for Independence Day. We can have Independence Day, that is "Freedom Day," today when we repent and believe in Jesus, the Lamb of God. "If the Son frees you, you will really be free" (Jn 8:36).

Prayer:  Father, use me to free others from sin, Satan, and hell.

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

Praise:  Praise You, Jesus, Lamb of God (Jn 1:29). All honor, glory, and blessings be to You forever.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our book, The Truth Will Set You Free.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2012

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