Pointing to Jesus: A homily for the Solemnity of John the Baptist

Today we take a break from the OT green to celebrate St John the Baptist, whose feast happens to fall on a Sunday. It’s a big enough deal to trump the 12th Sunday of OT.

There is a happy tradition to eat snails on the day. It comes from the early celebrations of the feast, like in the fourth century. Evidently wax was harder to come by in those days, so folks would get snails and eat them and then put oil in their shells to make little luminaries. So if you see a snail today, eat it.

JB, when he pointed to Christ and said REPENT, the Greek word there is metanoia – that is, change of heart, change of mind. He was pointing folks to Jesus, inviting them to change their minds and hearts.

Two questions for reflection today –

  1. Who is my John the Baptist? Who is pointing me to Jesus? Who is God using to bring about a change in my mind and heart?
  2. For whom am I John the Baptist? That is – who am I pointing to Christ? Who am I inviting to a change or mind/heart?

First. Who is my JB? Everything is pointing us to Christ, if we have the eyes to see it. Teachers, parents, kids, priests, even those you might not expect. The Church of course is our great JB—her teachings, traditions, Saints, liturgies, scriptures, etc. And even the situations in our lives that are tough – it’s all pointing us to Christ. Are we looking? Following? Everyone in our lives, all the situations in our lives, God is there….calling us to change of mind, change of heart, daily.

Bp. Cozzens just spoke to all us priests, he was wonderful. He encouraged us to pray in the Holy Hour each day with this question: “Where have I experienced Jesus since my holy hour yesterday? What’s been most on my mind?” Sometimes it’s a joy, sometimes a cross. Example: I spent three hours looking for the bus key on Friday. It was driving me bonkers not being able to find the blasted thing. I prayed with this yesterday….and turns out this whole thing has pointed me to Christ. See…I got to praying, God said SLOW DOWN – if you’re going so fast that you’re losing your keys, what else are you missing? I also got to thinking about how difficult it is when we lose something, and how keys aren’t much, but what else have I lost? Friendships, old (good) ways of praying, etc. That whole lost key scenario– God has used it to point me closer to the Lord.

Secnd question – For whom am I John the Baptist? Who am I leading to Jesus? All of us a PROPHETS by our baptism….we are to point to Christ. Sometimes this is a matter of “putting God on the radar”…..Instagram, FAcebook, a letter with a Bible verse…Lord knows what might happen through these things!? God may well use you to point someone back to himself, deeper into His life. A great quote by Jim Elliot – “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”