On Monday 24th June we celebrate the feast day of Saint John the Baptist and it is a good opportunity to stop for a moment or two and reflect on our Order and what we do within it.
John the Baptist is of special importance for followers of Christ. He was chosen before birth to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. A desert prophet, he was outstanding for vigour, discipline and humility. In the Gospels the Baptist plays a unique roll He is the first witness who leads other people to Jesus. The same Jesus who he identifies as the messiah, the Son of God. The readings of this feast alert us to the wonder of humanity as God’s created work. The selection from Isaiah captures two unique aspects of John’s birth: from my mother’s womb he gave me my name” and “formed me as his servant.” At a most unexpected time and in a most unexpected way God brought mercy to Elizabeth and Zechariah. Although these two cooperated with God’s plan of salvation and gave John the name they were asked to by the angel, little could they have known that his destiny was so much more than bringing vindication to an elderly couple who were childless.
John’s destiny was to herald the Messiah of Israel who would bring salvation. It is impossible to speak of John’s birth without noting his fidelity to his mission and his relationship to the Messiah. John the Baptist’s birth and mission remind us that God is always there amongst us especially in the poor and the sick. Being a caring and sharing individual within society means that we should give ourselves selflessly without hesitation to people who need us without counting the cost this is what true service means. Service of others should be taken as a privilege compassion and gentleness are valuable strengths which should be willingly and freely given to others and that is exactly what our service as members of the Order of Malta should be. Being a member of the Order of Malta is so much more than wearing the Church robes or the uniform put simply it is a way of life that is rooted in the faith that we profess as Catholics. Our vocation then, is to challenge the injustice of our times in our service to the Poor and the sick, to embrace the Catholic faith to which we are called and defend it when necessary and point people towards Jesus Christ the only source of true life who will be with us to guide us along the road that leads to salvation.