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Sunday Sharing

It’s funny how certain prayers are just part of our DNA. As a Deacon and Minister of Care, I have the opportunity to visit our sick and home bound parishioners. What I have found over the years is that regardless of the age, physical or mental state of those I visit, when we pray together, whether it be the “Our Father or The Hail Mary”, each person will either mouthed or speak these prayers. It is at these “God moments” that I not only hear the Lord speaking but I feel his all-embracing presence.

Do we recognize the voice of the Lord speaking to us when you listen to the word of God in Scripture or prayer? Luke the evangelist tells us that the "word of God came to John in the wilderness" (Luke 3:2). But, who was John the Baptist and what is the significance of the word which he received and delivered to the people of his day? Luke tells us that John was the son of Zechariah, a priest who served in the temple at Jerusalem. John stood at a pivotal juncture in the history of God's dealing with his people. He bridged the Old and New Testaments, also known as the Old and New Covenants which God made with his people.

In dramatic fashion Luke tells us when John appeared on the world scene. Luke lists a few of the key reigning rulers in John's era, including Tiberius Caesar of Rome (Luke 3:1). These rulers of course, paled in reference to the man who now stood at the door of a new era of grace and salvation for the world. John's mission was to prepare the way for God's Anointed King. A king who would come to establish God's rule above all other kings and authorities. Luke emphasizes the universal call of the Gospel to all peoples without distinction.

How did John prepare for the coming of the Savior of the world? Luke tells us that "the word of God came to John" when he was dwelling in the wilderness of Judea (Luke 3:2). John was called from an early age to devote himself to prayer and to the word of God. John not only took the Scriptures to heart, he molded his life according to them, and made himself a servant of the Word of God. God taught John in the solitude of the desert and prepared him for a prophetic ministry that would turn the hearts and minds of his people to receive their long-awaited Messiah.

Do we allow God's Word to transform your life? How can we, like John the Baptist, prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ – not only today but every day? John the Baptist tells us that the first steps toward this transformation of life are conversion and repentance (Matthew 3:2; Luke 3:7). Conversion involves receiving God's word into our heart and mind and allowing his Word to change our attitudes and ways of thinking and judging. Repentance is the deliberate turning away from sin and turning towards God to receive his pardon, to receive his healing, and strength to do what is good and reject what is wrong.

John saw from a distance what Jesus the Messiah would accomplish through his death and resurrection – May our loving and merciful God pardon our sins, bring us healing and restoration, as we await the promise of eternal life. A life for all who believe in the Lord Jesus. A life for all who are you hungry for the Word of God and allow God's word to transform the way we think, speak, and live our lives.

Deacon Joseph Yannotta