John the Baptist

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jun 18, 2012

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for the feast of John the Baptist- June 24th, 2012

John the Baptist
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
June 24, 2012

     Isaiah 49:1-6
     Acts 13:22-26
     Luke 1:57-66, 80


June: World Refugee Awareness Month
June: is Torture Awareness Month )
June 20:  Start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere
June 26: International Day for the Remembrance of Victims of Torture


The fundamental starting point for all of Catholic social teaching is the defense of human life and dignity: every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and has an inviolable dignity, value, and worth, regardless of race, gender, class, or other human characteristics.
Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration:
A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice
                          A Statement of the Catholic Bishops of the United States

Made in the image of God, women and men have a preeminent place in the social order.  Human dignity can be recognized and protected only in community with others.  The fundamental question to ask about social development is “What is happening to people?”
Catholic Social Teaching, Our Best Kept Secret, page 22

   The Church joins in the efforts of those who defend human rights and offers her solidarity to all who, for racial, ethnic, religious and social reasons, are victims of discrimination. Spiritual and religious values, with their potential for renewal, contribute in an effective way to improving society. It is only right that the work of religious communities should be joined to the praiseworthy action of governments and international organizations in this area.
   I would therefore like to repeat that no one is a foreigner in the Church and everyone must feel at home! To make the Church "the home and the school of communion" is a concrete response to the expectations for justice in today's world.
John Paul II, General Audience of 21 March, 2001
The United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

   Peace on Earth—which humans throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after—can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order.
John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 1

Thoughts for your consideration

The birth of John is a great sign of God’s blessing.
John is a blessing and the people rejoice!
The birth of any child is such a blessing.
The birth of every child is a gift to the world.

As Christians we affirm the dignity and goodness of every human person – a dignity that exists from the very beginning of life.  Whether a child is born rich or poor, with a high IQ or a low IQ, gay or straight, female or male, from the North or from the South, from one racial group or another, every child is a precious child of God and a gift to the world.

The birth of John is a proclamation of this amazing goodness.
Let us pray that our whole world has the eyes to see this goodness in every person.
Let us pray that our whole world has the wisdom and grace to affirm the goodness and dignity of every human person.
Let us pray that we will respect all life and affirm the goodness of God.


“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.”

We are called to share our light to the nations.
We are called to share that light in our service to those in need, in our commitment to justice and peace, in our work willingness to learn from others, especially the poor, & in our faith in the power of God’s work in our world.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Share the story of your birth. Where and when and how were you born? 
Was there rejoicing? Was there an excitement? 
What good news were you born to proclaim?


Who is the most exciting human person that you ever met?
Why?  Did this person help you appreciate goodness and excitement in others?


An elderly gentleman ran a curio and antique shop in a large city. A tourist once stepped in and got to talking with the old man about the many things that were stacked in that shop.

Said the tourist, “What would you say is the strangest, the most mysterious thing you have here?”

The old man surveyed the hundreds of curios, anti­ques, stuffed animals, shrunken heads, mounted fish and birds, archaeological finds, deer heads… then turn­ed to the tourist and said, “The strangest thing in this shop is unquestionably myself.”


Justice for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters:  In various places in the United States, this week is celebrated as Gay & Lesbian Pride Week. In some cities, this Sunday is sometimes celebrated with Gay Pride parades and other events. In the midst of all the controversy, what can our church teaching offer?  To place these events in the context of Catholic Social Teaching  - especially teaching about the dignity of all men and women, you might check out the 1997 statement of the US Bishops: “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers.” It is available at:

June is Torture Awareness Month and June 26 is the International Day for the Remembrance of Victims of Torture.  The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), founded by and for torture survivors, provides info on this issue at  Created in 1986, the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) is a “coalition of international non-governmental organizations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”  Find out more info and info about their action campaigns at .  Speak up for those who are oppressed.

Food Industry workers
Read a recent article about taking care of workers in the food industry.
Read the recent report, The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain,   that looks at “wages and working conditions of workers across the entire food chain – a sector that employs 20 million people in the U.S., comprising one-sixth of the nation’s workforce.”

Prayers of Intercession

Response:  God, you have made us all in your image and likeness.

That all people will be treated in a way that honors their full dignity as blessed children of God, we pray…..

For all those who have been tortured or in any way denied their human rights, we pray….

For all those who are immigrants or refuges, we pray….

For all our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters, we pray…..

For all workers that they may enjoy a living wage and dignity and respect, we pray….

For those caught up in our many wars and preparations for war, we pray….

For all the children of our world, that they may be treated well and have access to good food, decent shelter, and an excellent education, we pray….


God we are born with your spirit.

Help us to use that spirit:
 To find the lost,
 To heal the broken,
 To feed the hungry,
 To release the prisoner,
 To rebuild the nations,
 To bring peace among others,
 To make music in the heart,
 To proclaim good news to the poor.



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