Dear Parish Family,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you
which path to take.
Don’t forget to call for your Mass reservations for Sunday. Office hours are Monday thru Thursday, 8:30 – 4:00; the phone number is 601-856-2054.
Please remember in your prayers today the repose of the soul of Richard Ochu, father of parishioner Steve Ochu, who died last week. Steve, Melissa, Ben, Sarah, and all of their family are in our prayers. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
The Mass readings for tomorrow, along with Father Kevin’s homily, follow.
God bless you all with peace, joy, patience, and understanding.
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Mass during the Day
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15
R. I praise you, for I am
O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
Second Reading: Acts 13:22-26
In those days, Paul said:
“God raised up David as king; of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man
after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. 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 I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’ “My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent.”
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.
Zechariah 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. Luke 1:57-66, 80
In her book My Grandfather’s Blessing, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen tells the story of a colleague who was one of the few women on the university hospital faculty. This doctor excelled as a researcher, clinician and professor; she was the model of the compassionate and dedicated physician her students wanted to become.
Then she discovered a lump in her breast. The chief of the department performed her surgery. The mass was found to be malignant. The chief went to the recovery room to tell her the devastating news as soon as she awakened. Still groggy from the anesthesia, she listened to the surgeon’s words. She then closed her eyes for a brief time and said in a barely audible voice the most difficult words she had ever uttered: “Now someone will have to take care of me.”
We are all in need of compassion, of forgiveness, of support, of being lifted up. The birth of his Christ and of his herald John are signs of God’s constant care for his beloved humanity.
In the story of the birth of John the Baptist, Zechariah is finally able to embrace the promise of God; he rediscovers within himself the faith of his ancestors that enables him to put aside his own doubts and fears to embrace the joy and hope represented by the birth of his son John. He finally surrenders his doubts and fears, to let go of his narrow intellectual and theological concept of God, and let God realize his vision for humanity’s salvation.
All of us, in some way, to some degree, are vulnerable, hurting, and despairing. Like the doctor who must now accept her own mortality and the care of others, like Zechariah’s difficulty in accepting what God has called him and Elizabeth to take on, God calls us in the birth of the last great prophet of Scripture to place our hope in God’s presence — and to become that presence for all who are lost, hurting and forgotten.
Faithful God, help us to trust in your Word of compassion and mercy and not hesitate to speak that Word to all we encounter. Untie our tongues, free us from our fears, unbind us from our own sense of self so that we may be re-created by that Word and, like John, reveal your Word in our midst.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.