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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Prayer' - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John McKinnon click here

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

Sunday, 24 Jun 2018: The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

First Reading - Is 49:1-6

Behold I will make you a light to the nations.

Islands, listen to me,
pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born,
from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
He made my mouth a sharp sword,
and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow,
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, ‘You are my servant Israel,
in whom I shall be glorified’;
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain,
I have exhausted myself for nothing’;
and all the while my cause was with the Lord,
my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.
And now the Lord has spoken,
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
to gather Israel to him:
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Responsorial Psalm

(R.) I praise you for I am wonderfully made.

Second Reading - Acts 13:22-26

Christ's coming was announced beforehand by the preaching of John.

Paul said: ‘God made David the king of our ancestors, of whom he approved in these words, “I have elected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia!

You, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.

Alleluia!

Gospel - Lk 1:57-66. 80

John is his name.

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

Gospel Reflection:

Today’s gospel is a good news story. Most of us respond with joy to the birth of a child, especially when the odds are stacked against the parents conceiving. As the child grows to maturity, friends and family might look back and interpret later achievements in the light of childhood expectation and promise. Stories of birth and childhood are often told in the light of later events. The story of the birth of John the Baptizer is told with hindsight and against the background of Jewish expectations in the Second Temple period. The gospel writers reflect on the role John played in recognising the significance of Jesus of Nazareth and in pointing to Jesus as the unique agent and prophet of God’s empire over against the Roman Empire.

Luke is the only gospel writer to reflect on John’s “pre-history” and to hint that his birth belonged within the biblical tradition of the “wondrous” births of remarkable people. He interprets the birth of John as an expression of God’s “great mercy”. Luke narrates the childhood story of John in parallel and yet in appropriate relationship with the story of the child Jesus, whose identity and mission represent the ultimate revelation of Israel’s God.

In announcing the birth of John the Baptizer, storyteller Luke uses the language of fulfilment: “the time came” [for Elizabeth to give birth] is literally “the time was fulfilled”. The birth of this child is a time of the fulfilment of God’s word, as previously announced by the angel Gabriel to his father Zechariah (Luke 1:13-17). Zechariah had been told not to fear, for his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son and “you will name him John”.

Joy and gladness would be the response to the birth of this child who was to be “filled with Holy Spirit even before his birth”. John’s destiny was “to make ready a people”. Jesus, the one for whom John is “preparing the way” will later refer to him as “a prophet” and “more than a prophet” (Luke 7:27). Zechariah, who refuses to believe that he and Elizabeth will have a child in their advanced years, is told that he will be mute “until the day these things occur” (1:17. “These things” encompass the birth of the child, the joy-filled response of the faith community and the naming of the child eight days after birth. John’s name, meaning “YHWH (the God of Israel) has shown grace”, foreshadows the extraordinary mark that this child, the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, will make on his world and consequently on ours. Like John, we are called to “make ready a people”, to prepare the way. For Australian Catholics, commitment to creative participation in the forthcoming Plenary Council preparations might be a fitting way to celebrate this feast.

   Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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