Fr. Mark Payne
St. Veronica

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

Glory to you O Lord.

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy towards her and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the 8th day to circumcise the child they were going to call him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said in reply “No, he will be called John.” But they answered her “There is no one among your relatives who has this name so they made signs asking his father what he wished him to be called.” He asked for a tablet and wrote “John is his name” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed and he spoke and blessed God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart saying “What then will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

As we gather on this day of the birth of John the Baptist I want you to recall your own baptism. On that day when I was baptized, I was baptized Mark Charles Payne, Charles after my grandfather on my mother's side, Charles O'Neil. And you see it follows in that line, in my own heritage I carry on part of my heritage just as John's parents thought that they would carry on the heritage or the relatives of John thought that they would carry on the heritage but that wasn't true. Instead his mother and his father said “No. His name is gonna be John.” I believe that that was so significant because God called John for a special task, a special task to announce and to proclaim Jesus. Each and every one of you is called by name. Each and every one of you on your baptismal day was given that name to bear and for some of you you probably bear relatives names, maybe a grandmother or grandfather, but you bear that name and God has called you. He called you from the moment of your conception for a task, as John went out to announce Jesus' coming we go out and we proclaim Jesus' presence, we go out and we proclaim Jesus' presence in word and deed. You have been called by name. We even give ourselves names at confirmation, why? Because again there's a change, the Holy Spirit comes upon us so that we can go out and live the faith that we've been given. So today, as John was called you are called, by name, to go out and bring the good news and make a difference with your families, your relatives and your friends. Bless you.

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