The Daily Prayer
SATURDAY, August 29, 2020
John the Baptist (c.30)
John the Baptist was the son of Zechariah, a priest in the Jerusalem temple, and Elizabeth, a cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus. John’s parents were advanced in years and had prayed to have a child, yet had not conceived. But an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah and told him his wife would bear a son named John, “great in the sight of the Lord” and “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Five months later, the same angel appeared to Mary and told her of the coming birth of Jesus. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby “leaped in her womb” a prophetic sign that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit all of his life. John lived in the wilderness of Judea until he was thirty, then began his public career preaching repentance. When Jesus came to him to be baptized, John recognized him as the Messiah and said, “It is I who need baptism from you.” John often is referred to as the Precursor to Jesus; he foretold the coming of the Messiah and prepared the way for Jesus. His preaching encouraged many believers to follow Christ; in fact, Andrew and John learned of Christ through John’s ministry.
A reading from the gospel according to John: “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ They asked him, ‘Then who are you? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Finally, they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert, “Make straight the way for the Lord.”’”
Merciful God, you must grieve over our broken earth as King David mourned the death of his disobedient son, Absalom. Break our own hearts with the things that break yours. Make us voices in the wilderness that cry out for your kingdom to come on earth. Amen.