I have a friend who often speaks of “the Forerunner” as the spirit of God in the form of John the Baptist when she has something important to accomplish—or when she has an important journey to make. Perhaps I’m thinking of the word because the Olympics are on the horizon and there will be many races for which runners have trained in earnest. Do you ever add John the Baptist to your list of companions on the journey?
Today we celebrate this “Forerunner of Jesus,” the one who announced the coming of the long-awaited “Savior,” the one who had been promised for generations, centuries even, “the one who was to come.” John the Baptist spoke of himself as “a voice crying in the wilderness” to announce the coming of “the One”…the One who had been promised, the laces of whose sandals John did not feel worthy to untie.
We have heard many stories about this John, this strange man who emerged from the desert “eating locusts and wild honey” with a message that would have perhaps been better announced with trumpets and drums than simply with his booming voice shouting “PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD!‘
Do you ever think about John the Baptist, relative of Jesus and deliverer (maybe “front man”) for the long awaited Messiah? Sometimes I think about some of the musicians that appeared in the late 20th century—like Bob Dylan who told us that “the times they are a changin,” upending the way we messaged music for generations.
Do you ever consider yourself as a messenger from God? What is the message you give to the world? I have come to trust a line in the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Joseph (the document that I live by in addition to the Constitution of the United States of America). It’s the first line and it says that”the Sister of St. Joseph moves always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction...” If I remembered that all day every day, I think I could be seen as preparing the way of the Lord. Some of us are called to speak with our voices, some with our actions—some in a more courageous way than we would choose. Whatever we are called to, we ought to trust that God will see us through if we continue to listen and respond when called.