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(Part 33)


June 24, 2010
Feast of John the Baptist

Today’s readings
Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalm 139:1-15
Acts 13:22-26
Luke 1:57-80

John the Baptist is an icon for our most important tasks in CFC-FFL. We are an evangelistic and missionary community, and we renew the family and defend life.

John leaped for joy in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when she heard Mary’s greeting (Lk 1:41). David speaks about the amazing and wonderful work of God in forming us in the womb. “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew, my bones were not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth.” (Ps 139:13-15).

What an amazing work is the life being formed by God in the womb. God knits every cell and every part of us. What is unseen on the outside, what to the world is happening in secret, is a wonderfully mysterious work of the divine Being, a creature being made in His image and likeness.

Satan’s work is abortion. This is not only the terrible taking of an innocent and defenseless human life, but it is an assault on God’s wonderful work and on His plan. That is why abortion is diabolical. In like manner, contraception prevents even the start of the life that God intends to create. This too is diabolical, as Satan prevents the creation of a soul that would ultimately be with God eternally in heaven (as happens to the souls of the aborted babies). Satan prevents a new being who is destined to leap for joy in God’s presence.

Our task is to defend God’s work, the life that is to be or that is being formed in the womb.

The second important work that John the Baptist points to is the work of evangelization and mission. It is the work of going “before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Lk 1:76b-77). Like John, we are God’s workers sent to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus.

“John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel” (Acts 13:24). This is our task too, but now we are to proclaim this salvation not just to Israel but to the ends of the earth.

Who did John proclaim? For whom did he leap for joy? It was Jesus. And it is Jesus too whom we proclaim. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is the suffering servant of God, who through his giving of his life on the cross won for us our salvation.

The Servant of the Lord oracles in Isaiah have been taken to refer to historical Israel, or ideal Israel, or an Old Testament historical character, or the prophet Isaiah himself. The New Testament sees a fulfillment of these prophecies in Jesus Christ. Since we are called to be like Jesus, to follow in his footsteps, to take on his very nature of holiness (1 Pet 1:15-16) and perfection (Mt 5:48), to continue the work that he has started, we can look at how we fit in the call of the Servant of the Lord.

First, the Lord called us from birth, from our mothers’ wombs gave us our name (Is 49:1b). Giving us our name means God designates us for a specific or special task. God formed us as His servants from the womb (Is 49:5a). Before God even created us, He knew of His plan to call us and to choose us to serve Him. It is our destiny to be where we are now.

Second, as far as CFC-FFL is concerned, God has done and is doing three things for us as His servants. “It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6). These are the 3 R’s: raise up, restore, reach out.

God raised up CFC in 1981. As usual, the enemy attacked God’s work, and almost succeeded in destroying CFC. In 2007, CFC split, but God plucked a remnant from the ruins and restored it to CFC’s authentic charism. This is CFC-FFL. Now God intends to use this instrument to reach the nations of the world, to bring His salvation to the ends of the earth. Like John the Baptist, we participate in the work of preparing the world for the second coming of our Lord Jesus.

We are privileged to be called and used like John the Baptist. God destined us even before we were formed in the womb. And God uses us to bring His salvation to the world.

We defend life, because life is God’s work, but also because all the evangelizers and missionaries, just like us, will come into the world through the wombs of their mothers. Satan works to prevent the coming of God’s evangelizers right at the very start.

Then we expend our lives for the cause of Christ, to bring the salvation he won on the cross into the lives of many others.

John asked, “Who do you suppose that I am?” (Acts 13:25a). I pray that who we are as CFC-FFL is clear to us all. It has to be clear, so that we can apply ourselves to our mission according to the plan of God.

Our life and mission is such a great privilege for us, something totally undeserved. Though we are but mere sinful flesh, God uses us as His divine instruments. Though we are just slaves, Jesus has called us friends. Though we are powerless and not worthy, the Holy Spirit has empowered us for the task. We proclaim Christ crucified, until he returns once again.

“Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.” (Acts 13:25b). Just like John the Baptist, let us prepare the way for Jesus, and let us leap for joy at this great privilege.

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