Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

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Canticle of Zachary

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people.

And hath raised up a horn of salvation to us, in the house of David His servant.

As he spoke by the mouth of his holy Prophets, who are from the beginning.

Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.

To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember His holy testament.

The oath which He swore to Abraham, our father; that He would grant to us,

That being delivered from the hand of our enemies we may serve him without fear,

In holiness and justice before Him, all our days.

And thou child, Precursor of the Emmanuel, shalt be called the Prophet of the Most High: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare His ways.

To give unto His people the knowledge of salvation, unto the remission of their sins.

Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:

To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death; to direct our feet in the way of peace.

COLLECT

O God, who raised up Saint John the Baptist

to make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord,

give your people, we pray,

the grace of spiritual joys

and direct the hearts of all the faith fully into the way of salvation and peace.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

READING 1

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Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O coastlands,

listen, O distant peoples.

The LORD called me from birth,

from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.

He made of me a sharp-edged sword

and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.

He made me a polished arrow,

in his quiver he hid me.

You are my servant, he said to me,

Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,

and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,

yet my reward is with the LORD,

my recompense is with my God.

For now the LORD has spoken

who formed me as his servant from the womb,

that Jacob may be brought back to him

and Israel gathered to him;

and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,

and my God is now my strength!

It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,

to raise up the tribes of Jacob,

and restore the survivors of Israel;

I will make you a light to the nations,

that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 64 Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts.1 The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations.2 Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel’s salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary.3

CCC 713 The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”4 These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”5 Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.

1 Cf. Isa 2:2-4; Jer 31:31-34; Heb 10:16.

2 Cf. Ezek 36; Isa 49:5-6; 53:11.

3 Cf. Ezek 2:3; Lk 1:38.

4 Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; cf. Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12.

5 Phil 2:7.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:

you know when I sit and when I stand;

you understand my thoughts from afar.

My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,

with all my ways you are familiar.

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Truly you have formed my inmost being;

you knit me in my mother’s womb.

I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;

wonderful are your works.

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

My soul also you knew full well;

nor was my frame unknown to you

When I was made in secret,

when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

READING II

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Acts 13:22-26

In those days, Paul said:

“God raised up David as king;

of him God testified,

I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;

he will carry out my every wish.

From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,

has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.

John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance

to all the people of Israel;

and as John was completing his course, he would say,

‘What do you suppose that I am’ I am not he.

Behold, one is coming after me;

I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.”

“My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,

and those others among you who are God-fearing,

to us this word of salvation has been sent.”

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.1 “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.2 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.3 Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.4

1 Cf. Acts 13:24; Mt 3:3.

2 Lk 1:76; cf. 7:26; Mt 11:13.

3 Jn 1 29; cf. Acts 1:22; Lk 1:41; 16:16; Jn 3:29.

4 Lk 1:17; cf. Mk 6:17-29

GOSPEL

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Lk 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child

she gave birth to a son.

Her neighbors and relatives heard

that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,

and they rejoiced with her.

When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,

they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,

but his mother said in reply,

“No. He will be called John.”

But they answered her,

“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”

So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.

He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”

and all were amazed.

Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,

and he spoke blessing God.

Then fear came upon all their neighbors,

and all these matters were discussed

throughout the hill country of Judea.

All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,

“What, then, will this child be?”

For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

The child grew and became strong in spirit,

and he was in the desert until the day

of his manifestation to Israel.

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062418-day-mass.cfm

BENEDICTUS

What John was Born For

According to a splendid saying of Pascal, a single soul is worth more than the entire visible universe. But if we are to grasp this truth in a vivid way, we must be converted; we must as it were do an interior turnabout, overcome the spell visible reality cast over us, and acquire a sensitive touch, ear, and eye for the invisible. We must treat the invisible as more important than all the things that thrust themselves upon us with such force day after day. “Be converted”: change your thinking, your outlook, so that you perceive God’s presence in the world; change your thinking so that God may become present in you and through you in the world. John himself was not spared the hard task of changing his thinking, of being converted, of undergoing what De Lubac calls “the alchemy of being.” His change in thinking began with his having to proclaim, as one crying in the wilderness, a man whom he himself did not know… But John’s real suffering, the real recasting as it were of his entire being in relation to God, began in earnest with the activity of Christ during the time when he, John, was in prison. The darkenss of the prison cell was not the most fearful darkness John had to endure. The true darkness was what Martiun Buber has called “the eclipse of God”: the abrupt uncertainty John experienced regarding his own mission and the identity of the one whose way he had sought to prepare.

Pope Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

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Magnificat:

 

 

My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid: for, behold from henceforth all generations shall call me Blessed. Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His name. And His mercy is from gene ration unto generation, to them that fear him. He hath showed might in His arm He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
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