Nativity of St. John the Baptist
John the Baptist
“John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” ACT 13:24 John the Baptist preached a message of repentance. Translations from the inspired Greek text into modern English can be very difficult. The Greek NT word for repentance is metanoia. It basically means “to change one’s mind”.
One has to think of God in a much bigger and exciting way. We must change dramatically our thoughts about the wonder of His love. What God is going to do for us has not even entered into the mind and heart of man in His wildest dreams! Biblical “repentance” means not so much that we look to our wayward sins, but to God’s startling love for us! We are challenged with God’s amazing ways to call us into the wonderful love life of the Trinity.
Jesus says the most astonishing things about this sharing of intimacy with God! “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. John 15:9 I think this is one of the most astounding words spoken by Jesus! So strong is Jesus’ love for us it is like the Father’s love for His “Only Begotten”. How could Jesus say it more strongly than that? When John the Baptist said: “Behold the Lamb of God” that was the most wonderful sight in the world! Pope Benedict XVI beautifully said: “EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THE INTIMATE FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS!”
Some years ago, I visited the marvelous Basilica Sacré Coeur in Paris. It was in the evening when a teen-age girl with her family came in and knelt behind me. There is a giant mosaic of Jesus above the altar that is over 5,000 sq feet. It is the largest mosaic in France. When the family of the girl first came in she cried out: “look at Jesus”! I think these wordssums up the breathtaking point of John the Baptist when he proclaims:“Behold the Lamb of God.”
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.