FROM THE PULPIT
Today we celebrate the solemnity of St. John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and we are told in Scripture that John the Baptist was born six months before our Lord and also we see with the visitation of the blessed mother when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in her womb (John the Baptist) leaped for joy because he recognized that he was present in front of his Lord and God. We also see that John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord, “one greater than I will come after me.”
Our celebration of this solemnity is about a marked man! John was chosen, conceived, born, named, missioned, preached, died—all pointing to Christ. “What, then, will this child be?” John was the precursor. He pointed the way to Jesus and to salvation. He may have been only the precursor, but not he shares in the glory of the One whose sandal he was too humble to stoop to unfasten. God’s manifold graciousness continues into our own graced lives. With us, however, God’s interventions might not be so dramatic. But God still acts on behalf of each of us. If we are faithful as John, we too will share in God’s abundant graciousness and blessing. We, too, will share in the glory of the one whom we serve.
A name is so important to us because it gives us our identity and once someone knows our name than we have a connection to that person. We also see with the name Jesus (the lord is salvation) who was known also as Emmanuel (God is with us), or Messiah (the anointed one). We all have a name that has been given to us by our parents and it has become our identity but we all here share the same name of “Christian.” The question this morning/evening should be are we living up to that identity of being a Christian? If we walked out of this church without wearing any Christian symbols would people recognize us as Christians? Are we like John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord? First of all to be faithful to our identity as Christians are we are to be in touch with God and the only way we are able to do this is through prayer. It’s very good practice that we all attend Mass every Sunday as we come together as the members of the Body of Christ and become part of what is the greatest prayer in the church but it can’t stop just there. We must make it a priority to at least give part of our day to the Lord. That could be attending daily Mass, praying the rosary, spending sometime in quite meditation, reading the scriptures, saying grace at meals. My dear brothers and sisters any difficulty that we have in our lives can not be overcome unless we have a good foundation when it comes to prayer. How do we conduct our lives? Are we faithfully living out the commandments? Are we just falling into what society says is okay but is it okay with our Christian values? Are we treating one another with the dignity that each human being deserves?
My dear brothers and sisters, this day is special to me because it’s today that I made vows to the order and to the church. I had to ask myself before professing vows to the Franciscan Order. What is it to be a Franciscan? I had to realize that the name “Franciscan” meant something great not just to me but to those who I encounter. It was living out the ideals of St. Francis in that was to live out the Gospel. As I was going into the world as a friar I was representing something greater than myself but I knew if I would faithfully live out my vows than I could bring the love of St. Francis had especially for the outcasts of society in a sense to kiss the leper. To bring the living Gospel to those that have never encountered the living word.
So my dear brothers and sisters let us live up to our name because as Christians we are the bearers of Christ. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
 Living Liturgy, p. 158