Grace to Humbly Decrease so Christ may Increase – Jun 24 – Homily – Fr John Lawrence

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Fr John Lawrence gives the homily at Bloomington, IN, on Jun 24, 2024, on how St. John the Baptist's miraculous birth, filled with grace and the Holy Spirit, exemplifies the call to humbly decrease so Christ may increase in us.

Celebrating St. John the Baptist's birth is vital as he was the greatest in Israel's history. His birth was miraculous due to his sterile mother, yet what sets his birth apart is grace. Since we are born without God's grace, we need baptism. Jesus said, "unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5 -  https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/3?5). John was filled with the Holy Spirit in Elizabeth's womb when Mary greeted her (Luke 1:41 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/1?41). Only three births are celebrated: Jesus, Mary, and John. Jesus is holy as God, and Mary is holy from conception (CCC 490 - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/490.htm). John, conceived in original sin, was redeemed and filled with grace by Jesus.

John's circumcision and naming show his grace. His name means "the Lord has been gracious," highlighting his unique sanctification (Isaiah 49:1 - The Lord called me from the womb, from my mother's body he pronounced my name - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/isaiah/49?1). He spoke boldly, even confronting Herod on marriage, which led to his martyrdom (Matthew 14:3-4 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/14?3). St. John Fisher, martyred for marriage truth (CCC 1601 - Marriage between a man and a woman - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1601.htm), shows this truth leads to freedom. John grew strong in spirit, preparing in the desert (Luke 1:80 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/1?80). He humbly acknowledged Christ's mission, saying, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/3?30). Their birthdates symbolize Christ's increasing light. We learn to decrease so Christ may increase in us.

00:00 - Introduction
00:14 - Importance of St. John
00:34 - Grace of Birth
01:00 - Filled with the Holy Spirit
01:42 - Circumcision and Naming
04:25 - John's Prophetic Words
05:02 - Truth About Marriage
05:37 - Growing in Spirit, Decreasing for Christ

Ave Maria!

Mass: Birth of St. John the Baptist - Solemnity - http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=152
Readings:  - http://usccb.org/bible/readings/062424.cfm
1st: isa 49:1-6
Resp: psa 139:1-3, 13-15
2nd: act 13:22-26
Gsp: luk 1:57-66, 80

More on the Readings: https://airmaria.com/r?m=1095

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