The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. (Is49:1) Isaiah’s prophecy about John the Baptist in today’s first reading shows us God’s divine initiative in his birth. God’s initiative still requires human cooperation. John’s life and ministry illustrates John’s cooperation with God’s plan. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CC2002): “God’s free initiative demands man’s free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him.”
“The vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.” (CC1998)
John the Baptist had a special role in God’s plan of salvation – the forerunner of the Messiah, challenging the people and leadership to repentance – not pointing to himself, but pointing others to Christ. John the Baptist spoke truth to power – which cost him his life.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. The name John means “the Lord has shown favor”. The name Jesus means “the Lord saves”. John preached repentance, when accepted, led the people to be open to the salvation that Jesus Christ came to bring.
How do we respond to God’s divine initiative in our life? Can we see the presence and action of God in every moment of life?
God bless us all always! Deacon Mike