Malankara World

Weekly Devotional

Ministry of John the Baptist

by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand

Saturday 1 January 2011 (23 Koiahk; 23 Kiahk)
King David the Prophet. A Blessed New Year to all.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory
that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:4)

CONSIDER THIS:

As Mary gave birth to your Lord, the Church gave birth to you, The Church is
your Mother and nurtures you. The Church is Mother of many nations that
represent one Body. The Holy Virgin is the Mother of the One.
(St. Augustine of Hippo)

He who does not love his brother, should not think he is a child of God. And
when we look at our iniquities, we should remember that love covers over a
multitude of sins.
(St. Augustine)

Whoever wishes to see God must try to purify his heart by constantly
thinking of God.
(The Elder John Saba)

O Inexpressible mystery and unheard of paradox; the Invisible is seen; The
Eternal Word becomes accessible to our speech; the Timeless enters into time;
the Son of God becomes the Son of Man.
(St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Bless the Crown of the Year with Your goodness for the sake of us all who
seek Your Holy Name.
(Psa. 65:11)

Whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must pattern his
whole life on that of Christ.
(Imitation of Christ)

Here, Lord, is my life. I place it on the altar today. Use it as you will.
(Albert Schweitzer)

We live by faith, not by sight.
(2 Cor. 5:7)

Demons leave us alone to make us carless, then pounce on our miserable souls.
(John Climacus)

Bless is the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people,
and raised up a horn of Salvation for us in the house of His servant David.
(Luke 1:68-69)

REFLECTION:

You are children of eternity, your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow here in tears, but you may be sure to reap in joy. Heavenly Father, thank You for making us children of eternity. Help us to live each day in such a way that we may deserve to be children of Yours forever. (Elizabeth Ann Seton)

HOMILY:

THE PROCLAMATION OF JOHN.

Isaiah had spoken of John when he said: He is a voice in the wilderness: 'Prepare a pathway for the Lord's coming! Make a straight road for Him!' (Luke 3:4)

Like the first Christian Preachers Luke saw the real beginning of the Gospel in the appearance of John the Baptist, often called the Forerunner of Christ. (see Acts10:37). The Ministry of John marked the end of an old era and a beginning of a new era. Remember Elizabeth's reply to Mary's salutation , the Babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and spoke out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

He was not only the fulfiller of prophecy but also the last of the prophets, and is described as a prophet. (Jer. 1:1) His coming was the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3-5, a text which the Qumran Sect also saw fulfilled in their activities, and his task was to proclaim a baptism which pledged forgiveness of sins. This proclamation is expanded in three sections:

1. John warns the people it is no use being baptized without a true repentance. A mere claim to physical descent from Abraham was no defense against imminent judgement. The axe was poised to chop down unfruitful trees. So bloodlines could not be depended on.

2. People must practice love and generosity as opposed to the works of the Law. There must be honesty among those in high places. These moral principles will lead to a transformation of society from within, rather than by a bloody revolution. Would that this be true today of those in high places.

3. Many asked John if he was the Messiah. He knew his subordinate role. A mightier one would follow him. John cleansed people ceremonially with the sacramental symbol of water, but the coming One would cleanse men's hearts with the fire of the Holy Spirit. He would carry through a great separation among men, like a harvester, preserving the wheat and destroying the chaff.

Let men repent without delay, the coming of John meant that the coming of Jesus was near. But before His arrival is described, the story is rounded off with the story of John's arrest, (Mark 6:17-29). But prior to the arrest is the Story of Our Lord's Baptism which is an example for us to follow and was the Seal for His Ministry. Even from Prison John asks whether the Jesus is the expected one, he seems to have had a memory lapse to what took place at the Baptism of Jesus. He knew then and often referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God.

The stage is now clear for Jesus. John decreases and Christ increases. Many have asked why could not Jesus have saved John. I look at it like this. If John had still been active, then Jesus' Mission would have been overshadowed and not able to proceed until John had left the scene. "Has Christ cleansed your hearts?"

To Thee be glory and praise, now and ever, and unto Ages of Ages.

AMEN!

Today's Readings:

Evening: Psalm 18:1-4; John 15:7-16.
Morning: Psalm 44:1-2; John 1:1-17.
Liturgy: Rom.10:4-18; 1 John 1:1-2:6; Acts 3:1-16;
Psalm 138:16-17; Gospel: John 21:15-25.

Copyright DR

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