Today is the feast of John the Baptist, who was a wildly zealous man. From the very beginning of his life, he turned people towards Christ. In his mother’s womb, he leapt for joy at meeting Jesus for the first time. Then at his birth, he had everyone asking, What then shall this child become? John had a purpose in life, from the moment of his conception. Wow! Not many of us are that blessed.
I have been at two graduations this week and I have a retirement party yet to go to. These events are sort of at different ends of the career spectrum. One is filled with hope and joyful expectation of what is to come. The other is hopefully glancing back at a life filled with satisfaction and achievements. Those of us in the audience this afternoon cannot help but wonder what then shall these young lives become? Will they, like John, grow and become strong in spirit? Will they prepare the way for the Lord? Might they be light to the nations as in the first reading of Isaiah?
Psalm 139 says God formed us in our mother’s womb and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Many of us forget that as we struggle with our identities in school, gather up memories of shame and not being enough, and forget that we were made to be a light–a shining soul that points others to the Creator. The Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises asks us how we will respond to the Great Giver. God has given us an abundance of gifts to use for the glory of the Kingdom. They are not meant to be used selfishly, rejected or hoarded. They are not meant to be used improperly or falsely either. John knew this when he said that he was not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals of the One Who Is To Come.
Do you leap for joy when you recognize Christ amongst us? What is God calling you to? What prevents you from going out in the wilderness?