Only every six years does the Birthday of St John the Baptist fall on a Sunday, and when it does, it takes precedence over the normal Sunday liturgy. Apart from the Nativity, the only two births that are celebrated in the liturgical calendar are those of Our Blessed Mother and St John the Baptist. He is the bridge between the Old and New Testaments; the last of the old and first of the new Prophets. He compared himself to the Best Man at a wedding: He must increase, I must decrease. He was born so that he might point the way to Christ, and he still does this today as we hear his words every day at Mass: Behold the Lamb of God…
The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed…but it grows into the largest shrub of all. We hear these words in the Gospel this Sunday. Our Lord chose a few men to begin the work of evangelisation. For the most part they were humble fishermen, unlettered men, with evident defects and only a few resources. Looking at things form a purely human perspective, it is impossible to explain how these men could have spread the teachings of Christ to the whole known world in such a short space of time. They faced so many obstacles, and there was much opposition to overcome. St John Chrysostom sees in this parable of the mustard seed, Jesus urges his disciples to have faith and to be confident that the spreading of the Gospel will be carried out in spite of everything. We need to remember that it’s not our efforts that count in the end, but that it is God’s Church. If we keep sight of our smallness, and also the power of grace, we will always be strong in whatever God asks of us. If we do not keep our eyes fixed on Jesus we become discouraged and pessimistic and will give up easily when tempted or when difficulties arise. As we go about our efforts as a Parish, to evangelise, let’s always remember that the victory belongs to Christ, who has already triumphed and calls us to do great things with Hi
The First Reading of the Mass this weekend tells of the expulsion of our first parents from paradise. This is a sign that men and women would come into the world in a state of separation from God; we call it Original Sin. They lost the inheritance that they should have left to their descendants; the consequences of their sin of disobedience were immediately experienced by the offspring of Adam and Eve: Cain killed Abel out of envy. In the same way all evil, be it personal or social, finds it origin in the sin of the first man. Baptism completely forgives the guilt and the punishment of Original Sin, but it does not free us from its effects.
This weekend we have the opportunity to celebrate The Mystery of Faith - The Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi - and to do so as a Parish Family. All of the children of God today gather, kneel, adore and walk with Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament. We celebrate the fact that we have a God who has not remained distant, but Who has come close to his Faithful. As we gather for Mass this weekend, let us offer profound thanksgivings for this great Love of God, made concrete for us.