Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 6-24-21

Deacon Steven M. Johnson – St. James, Belvidere, IL
Homily for the 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 6-24-21, Year B
The Nativity of St. John The Baptist – Solemnity
READINGS: 1st Is 49:1-6; 2nd Acts 13:22-26; Gospel Lk 1:57-66, 80
Theme: Be a Herald of Christ!

We were all made for love. Deep inside each of us exists the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as the third person of God in the Trinity, which is the purist of love itself. Know that the Holy Spirit exists in you, that God exists in you, and therefore, pure love exists in you. And not just in you, but in every human being made in God’s image. 

St. John baptized with water for repentance, but Jesus baptized with fire and the Holy Spirit. In our baptism, our sins are consumed in that fire and replaced with the pure love of the Holy Spirit, God Himself.

Every one of us experiences this deep love inside on a profound level from time to time. Sometimes we are surprised by it. We may be on a walk and notice the warm setting sun, the light breeze, and a feeling of contentment in being alive. A calm comes over us and for a very brief moment, everything is right in our soul. In these times we experience, for such a brief moment, the love of God within in us.

This love is not meant to be contained or constrained; it should be released and shared. The Holy Spirit knows to help us utilize the gifts given to us by God the Creator and to share this love with others. God wants all of us to be a Herald of this extraordinary love that is “God” to others, just like St. John.

Isaiah speaks of these gifts given to each of us in our formation in the womb. God gave us a name, made us a polished arrow in His quiver to express His love as a servant to others. Our reward is not in knowing we did something great, but in the fact we did it for God Himself. We should not be a herald just to gain a reward from God, rather, we should be a herald of that experience of love we felt on our walk, which is a gift in and of itself from God, because it is God Himself in that love. 

St. John the Baptist knew this inner love of the Holy Spirit. He was made by God to be extraordinary with a gift of great love. Why, to announce the coming of Jesus yes, but more so, to help us understand this love within each of us and to be an example of how to share God’s love with others. And what is God’s love for each of us? It is Christ Himself!

We are all heralds of God, like St. John the Baptist. We don’t do it for some earthly reward or to strictly secure our own salvation. Where love is involved, we cannot help but share it, spread it, speak it and feel there is nothing that could ever overcome it. We are content, and that is a small glimpse of heaven, a gift from God.

We are all named by God, just as Jesus and St. John were. We are all made for love just as St. John was. We are true brothers and sisters, made in the image and likeness of God with love as our foundation. With this solid foundation of love, there is nothing that can overcome us. It is a house built on rock. It is God at our side, lifting us up and carrying us.

As God said to Isaiah, and thus to us:
“I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Cast aside your worries and look deep within yourself and connect with the Holy Spirit, which is the purest of love, and be content in your soul. Then, share this pure love with others as the herald you are, as God has called you to be.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL