23RD JUNE 2022
AND THE HAND OF GOD WAS WITH HIM
THE NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST - SOLEMNITY
When John the Baptist was born, we read in today's Gospel passage that his parents neighbours were filled with fear when his father Zechariah was able to speak again and everyone who heard of it thought about it and asked, "What then will this child be?", for it was plain that the spirit of the Lord was with him.
The effect of the hand of the Lord being with John as written is that he grew up and became strong in spirit and was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
What then will this child be is a question answered by what John did.
When John started preaching he did the following:
•He told the tax collectors not to collect more than is legally needed.
•He told the soldiers not to accuse people falsely and to be content with their pay.
•He told the people who had two shirts to give one to someone who has none.
•He told Herod that it is not good to take his brother's wife.
This is the kind of a person John grew up to be because the hand of the Lord was with him.
This shows that everyone is born with a purpose to fulfill guided by the hand of God.
Generally in life people normally want to know the person or the reason behind happens in your life whether good or bad. For example, when you get a job, people will wonder who assisted you in getting it, the hand behind you getting the job. It means that without this hand you could not the job.
Without God's hand being upon him, John the Baptist wouldn't be the way he is. According to Isaiah 59:1 the Lord 's hand is not shortened meaning it is strong enough to save and that what one does has divine approval and we can see the hand of the Lord in every experience we have if we are willing to look.
The hand is the most frequently symbolized part of the human body. It gives blessings and it is expressive. According to Aristotle, an ancient philosopher, the hand is the tool of tools. In general it is strength, power and protection.
The hands may almost be said to speak. Do we not use them to demand, promise, summon, dismiss,threaten,supplicate,express aversion or fear, question or deny?
Do we not use them to indicate joy, sorrow and hesitation, confession, penitence, measure quantity, number and time? Have they not the power to excite and prohibit, to express approval, wonder or shame?
In the context of John the Baptist 's birth it's all about approval and guidance and the fulfillment of God 's promises and John does not disappoint or act contrary to how God approves and guides him.
If you take a look at your faith and at your life, can you say that the hand of God is with you? The hand of the Lord being with you enables you to know and to understand your surrounding and react to it as John did because it is not a state of being but is action oriented.
The hand of God being with you defines you in terms of your heart deciding to be on the side of goodness so as to see God's promises being fulfilled and that nothing is beyond God's purview.
Celebrating the nativity or birthday of John the Baptist also appreciates and celebrates the presence of God and the good action of the hand of God in our lives.