The Lord called me from birth.


The Church has always seen today’s first reading (Isaiah 49:1 – 6), one of the four “Servant Songs” from the Book of Isaiah, as a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Servant-King who came to save us.   So why does it use this passage for today’s feast celebrating the birth of John the Baptist?   Perhaps it’s because John was another servant of the Lord through whom God has shown his glory (Isaiah 49:3).

It’s clear from Luke’s Gospel that God had called John from birth and given him a special name and a special mission (Luke 1:5-20; 57-66; Isaiah 49:1).   John’s strong words urging people to repent must have felt like a “sharp-edged sword” or a “polished arrow” to anyone who heard him (49:2).   He was the “servant” who prepared the way for Israel to return to God and become “a light to the nations” (49:5, 6).

But these words don’t apply only to John and Jesus; they apply to you as well.   God created you and called you from birth.   He knows you by name—which means he knows you deeply—and he has given you a mission that only you can fulfill.   That mission is to be a herald like John.   God wants you to help prepare people for the coming of the Savior into their lives, and you can do that by sharing what God has done for you in Christ.

The words John spoke were inspired by the Holy Spirit.   Believe that the Spirit can inspire you with words that can pierce the hearts of your family members, friends, and coworkers.   To that lapsed Catholic in your office, perhaps you can share how much God wants to comfort him at Mass.   To your atheist daughter, you might want to talk about a particularly difficult time in your life when you saw God’s grace working in you.   You never know how your words will be received, but neither did John.   He was intent only on doing what the Lord asked of him—and God took care of the rest!

“St. John the Baptist, pray for me to be a herald of Jesus’ coming, as you were.”

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