A Christmas Prelude

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors, 

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. 
(Luke 1:66)

A prelude is an action or event that serves as an introduction to some­thing more important. In music, a prelude is an introductory piece of music. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. The celebration of this Solemnity is the prelude to Christmas. Today's readings and the liturgy in general serves as an introduction to what we will celebrate six months from now: The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In this prelude, we hear the prophet Isaiah proclaiming a description of the Servant of the Lord who was chosen and formed in the womb of the Mother by God himself. Isaiah describes also the mission of the Servant: "I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 41:6). This is precisely how John the Baptist served the mission of God. Saint Paul reminds us "John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, 'What do you suppose that 1 am? Lam not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet"' (Acts 13:24-25). John the Baptist knew that his mission was a prelude to Jesus'.

In our journey of faith, we can see that there are people and circumstances that serve a greater purpose. It is important for us to be able to see if who we are and where we are might be the prelude to the greater work of God: Salvation. As John the Baptist, this awareness will help us to fulfill our mission to the extent that we are called, and to serve the Lord with the joy of having the honor to be part of it.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.