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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Monday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time Download This Homily

Is 49:1-6,

Acts 13:22-26,

Gospel LK 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth 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 blessing 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.

 

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

 

Today we celebrate the nativity of John the Baptist, the precursor of our Lord. The first reading taken from the book of Isaiah is an accurate description of John’s character and mission: “He made of me a sharp-edged sword”. All through his life John was a sharp-edged sword. He was the personification of a kind of virtue, which we often assign to the male gender. He was rough and tough not only in his appearance and habits; he was equally coarse and forceful in his words and deeds. It is true that even while he was in his mother’s womb he knew dancing. However, once he grew up and understood his special vocation he bid farewell to that fine art and developed another skill that was indispensable for the new role he was assigned to play. Our present global civilization, as it advances, exhibits an antipathy towards certain values or virtues which are considered ‘masculine’. This growing unhealthy tendency is advocated and promoted by some pseudo-psychologists. While they promote the “emancipation” of women on one side, they sponsor “demasculinization” of men on the other. Thus, there arise an identity crisis among both men and women. Our present Generation-X is the unfortunate victims of this female ‘emancipation’ and male ‘demasculinization’ more than others. There is nothing wrong in being a male or a female. There is nothing to be proud of or ashamed of being either a man or a woman. Both Men and women are precious and essential for the survival of humanity. No woman should ever be deprived of her rights or made to feel inferior on account of her gender. If she feels belittled, her “emancipation” is not the remedy but her “empowerment”. She should be assisted to regain her self-esteem and self-confidence. Man - his behavior and role - should not be the norm and goal for women to strive for. Unfortunately, this is what happens in many parts of the world today. Women are treated like ‘little men’ and are encouraged to strive hard to ‘get in’ and ‘fit in’ to the male jacket. Yes, of course, some women manage to achieve that through dropping their natural feminine grace and motherly qualities. In this unfortunate metamorphosis it is children who suffer. The nature has given different roles to men and women. They are complimentary and there is no need of competition, jealousy and rivalry. What is needed is mutual appreciation and recognition; cooperation and collaboration.

 Today let us concentrate on John the Baptist and his masculine virtues. One may point out that the so-called ‘masculine virtues’ are rough and tough, scary and destructive. In a way that is true. Isaiah says, “He made of me a sharp-edged sword”. Destruction and construction are two sides of the same reality. Hammer is for hitting and breaking things down. If we are created as a hammer; hitting is our job. In a garden we need both spades and sickles. In many of our families children are now having two mothers instead of having a mother and a father. The fathers are getting increasingly afraid to play their masculine role. They will do all that the mothers are doing. Some mothers insist or force their husbands to do what they do. They get the support of the modern pseudo-psychology. Seeing the tame men on their knees, some ‘emancipated’ women feel vindicated and elevated. In many families, the fathers after playing the role of mothers expect the teachers and priests to discipline their children. If teachers and priests fail to discipline them the next resort is the police and the judiciary.

 Recently Pope Francis, during his daily homily advocated corporal punishment for children who misbehave in spite of warnings and verbal corrections. There was a huge uproar and condemnation of that proposal. Some pseudo-psychologists accused him of being outdated and old-fashioned. But the same pseudo-psychologists do not care when grownup people rot in prisons for a lifetime. That is utter hypocrisy. Corrections should take place at an early stage of life and not at an advanced stage. However, punishments should never be an outlet of one’s anger. Unfortunately it is on children some parents, teachers and caregivers give vent to their frustration. Punishment should not be punitive or vindictive but therapeutic and restorative. Punishing somebody without giving proper clarification and carried out by persons who have no compassion do irreparable damage to relationships. We need fathers who provide their children strong timely corrections. Meanwhile we also need mothers who specialize in providing their children loving tender care. John the Baptist is an excellent role model for fathers and all those who are assigned to play that role. Fearlessness was John’s trademark and selflessness was his virtue. We are in short supply of this specimen these days. Let John be an inspiration for the fathers and would be fathers.

Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI

Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

May God Bless you

Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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