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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, June 24, 2012

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

In addition, the "Word to Life" logo can be downloaded by clicking on the logo in the CNS website.

June 24, Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 139:1b-3, 13-15

2) Acts 13:22-26

Gospel: Luke 1:57-66, 80

Three of the four readings for this week point to the mission of John the Baptist.

In the Isaiah reading, the mission of John to prepare the way for Jesus is announced in the prophetic Scripture: "The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name."

A few verses later, the prophet speaks in the name of God about the role of Jesus: "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," thus expanding Jesus' place in human history.

The Acts and the Luke reading are even more specific to the role of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, a very specific mission.

But the passage from Psalm 139, a favorite of all who care about the value of the lives of the unborn, is much more general. "Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works."

I have a friend who is a grandmother now, who works with a pro-life group. I've known her for decades, but know little of her upbringing. I don't know if she was told repeatedly as she was growing up that God knew her, had formed her and had a purpose for her as great as that of John the Baptist.

What I do know is that in counseling mothers carrying children in their wombs, she has had hundreds of opportunities to quote these words from Psalm 139, pointing to the incalculable value of the lives of the children they are carrying.

Each of us is announcing that in the eyes of God each individual has value, is loved by God, and has an important role to fulfill in building the kingdom of God.

That is the message of the Gospel, and that is the message of the new evangelization. We each announce the coming of the Lord as a light to all the nations; we each are known and loved by the Lord of the universe.


Who do you need to remind that they are loved by God? What can you do to help others know that Jesus has come to bring them life?


"Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet" (Acts 13:25)


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