Catholic IrelandLiturgical Readings for : Thursday, 23rd June, 2022
Next Sunday's Readings
23/6, The Nativity of St John the Baptist, Solemnity
A reading from the first book of the Prophet Isaiah 49:1-6
Theme: I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified.‘
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing.’
And all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward was with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.
And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 138
Response I thank you for the wonder of my being.
1. O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you. Response
2. For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation. Response
3. Already you knew my soul,
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and moulded in the depths of the earth. Response
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26
Theme: Jesus’ coming was heralded by John.
Paul said: ‘God made David their king, of whom he approved in these words,
“I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.“
To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said,
“I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Gospel Acclamation Lk 1: 76
As for you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High. You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare the way for him..
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:57-66. 80 Glory to you, O Lord.
Theme: His name is John.
The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up.
‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.‘ They said to her,
‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.‘
And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered.
And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reflection The Nativity of John the Baptist 24/6 Luke 1:57-66, 80
The feast of the birth of Jesus coincides more or less with the winter solstice as the light begins to increase, as befits one who said of himself, ‘I am the light of the world.’ The feast of the birth of John the Baptist coincides more or less with the summer solstice as the light begins to decrease, as befits one who said, ‘He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.’
In the gospel the crowds at the circumcision of the child John ask the question, ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ He turned out to be the one who worked to ensure that Jesus would increase, even if that meant that he had to decrease. His calling, his mission, was to make a way for Jesus in people’s lives, to prepare people to receive Jesus. Having already received Jesus into his own life, he became the first and most powerful witness to Jesus before others. He was the voice who called Israel’s attention to the presence of the Word standing among them, unknown to them. John’s role and mission speaks to us of our own role and mission as people who have been baptised into Christ. We too are called to make a way for Jesus, firstly in our own lives, and then in the lives of others.
Like John, we are called to create a space for Jesus to increase in our own lives and in the lives of others. Like him, we are to welcome the coming of Jesus into our lives so that we can witness to Jesus before others. John was executed before Jesus suffered his own passion and death. John did not know of the resurrection of Jesus. He died before the coming of the Church, which was born from the death of resurrection of Jesus. In that sense, we are much more privileged than he was. As Jesus says, ‘The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.’ Yet John remains a shining lamp for us all, as Jesus once referred to him. John reveals the essence of our baptismal calling, which is to witness to Jesus by opening our lives to Jesus’ presence and allowing him to increase in us.
The scripture readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers. http://dltbooks.com/
The Gospel reflection is available with our thanks from Reflections on the Weekday Readings 2021-2022: My Words Will Not Pass Away by Martin Hogan and published by Messenger Publications c/f www.messenger.ie/bookstore