St John the Baptist
Jesus had some strange relatives, or rather at least one of whom we know: his cousin, St John the Baptist. The Church celebrates his birth this week. John was the only child of parents so elderly that his birth was regarded as a miracle. He must have been quite a handful. He went bush quite early, lived off the land in the desert and was fiercely religious. But that didn’t stop the people, high and low, flocking to hear him. He challenged them all. The despised - the prostitutes, the tax collectors (who were little more than legalised thieves) and the occupying soldiers – had their lives transformed by his preaching. But the influential people in society, religious and political, were too proud to listen with their hearts and ridiculed him. The king, when challenged for immorality, killed him. Living on the edge of society, John called things as they were. He was the one who recognised his ordinary looking cousin Jesus, as the Messiah.
We all have strange relatives, friends or acquaintances. Often, we just dismiss their views on life because of their strangeness yet they still have something to teach us, even if we don’t agree with them. They give us a different perspective on life, challenging our easy assumptions. Even if we disagree with them working through why we disagree enriches us. So long as we are open and listen, God can teach us through them. Consider one of your strange relatives and ask yourself what can you learn from that person.
Loving God, you have made us all in your image and likeness and reveal some part of yourself in every person. Guided by Jesus and your Spirit, make me open to those people I would reject because of their strangeness. I ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb