Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (1: 67-79) in which John’s father, Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit praises God and foretells, ‘And you, little child, you shall be called prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him…’Lord Jesus Christ,give me a deep sense of who I am in your sight, as your much-loved child.Help me to live a life that reflects who I am to those I meet this day.Heal me when I fail and keep me ever hopeful in your love.Amen.Fr Paul concludes with a special message wishing everyone a happy and holy Christmas and says ‘Thank you for joining me as we explored the ‘Heart of the Disciple’ during Advent; Plans are already underway to do something similar during Lent next year as part of our Parish’s Season of Renewal so I look forward to you joining me or one of the groups we’ll be forming as an opportunity to develop and deepen our relationship with God’.
Fr Paul continues to read from the ‘Heart of the Disciple’* resource for our daily reflections which asks us to consider the following: Our relationship with God is central to our vocation as Christians. Our identity and mission are built on that relationship. It is the cornerstone of everything we are and everything we do. In this final scripture text for our reflection resource, John’s relationship, identity and mission are described. It begins by naming him as a ‘child’. The word ‘child’ is by its nature a relational word. It is meaningless without the relationship inherent to it. John, just like all of us, is first and foremost a child of God. Next, he is called a ‘prophet’ of the Most High. This is intrinsic to who he is. This is his identity. He knew it, loved it, and lived it out with zeal. He knew whose he was, and he knew who he was. From before he was born to the moment he died and for millennia beyond, John the Baptist is a Prophet of the Most High. Thirdly, is his mission to ‘go before the Lord to prepare his ways’. Often, as Christians, it can be easy to form our identity around what we do. Yet, what we do is nothing in comparison to who we are and, more importantly, whose we are. God’s love is not dependent on what we achieve. God loves us because we are his children, which will never change. He gives us our identity, rooted in our relationship with him. From there he gives us something to do: our mission. God loves me for who I am, not for what I do. I show who I am by how I live. Understanding that the foundation of everything I do comes first from knowing who I am deserves thought and reflection. The heart of the disciple knows God and knows who and whose it is. From there, mission flows forth in everything we say and do. It is as Pope Francis writes, “Sooner or later, we have to face our true selves and let the Lord enter” (GE, 29). For our reflection, Fr Paul invites us to consider, as this daily series of reflections comes to an end, reflect on the reality of who you are before the God who loves you deeply. What is God calling you to now? And today we pray: