In the Reading for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Peter miraculously escapes prison. God sends an angel to release him from his chains and lead him out of prison. When the angel departs, Peter acknowledges the power of God over insurmountable obstacles. “‘Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting’” (Acts 12: 11). With God’s help, I have overcome incredible obstacles. As a parent of young adults, I wonder now how I managed to parent them. Where did I get the money, the time, the patience, the love, and more? By God’s grace, my wife and I raised them well. My confidence in God’s past care for us in spite of the obstacles instills confidence in God’s present and future care for us. How has God helped you overcome an obstacle(s) in your life?
In the Gospel for Friday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus heals a leper. “And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, ‘Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.’ He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I will do it. Be made clean.’ His leprosy was cleansed immediately” (Matthew 8: 2-3). Jesus touches the leper and heals him. Jesus loves even the unlovable. He is not afraid to reach out and touch them. Jesus continues to love them through us. How do you love the unlovable people in your life?
In the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist, Zechariah names his son. “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”(Luke 1: 62-64). Speechless from his encounter with God in the Temple, Zechariah scribbles the name of his baby son, “John”. He and his wife confirm the name God has chosen for their son. John means “Yahweh shows favor”. After regaining his speech, Zechariah immediately praises God. God has shown his people favor through the birth of John the Baptist. Through Jesus, the Risen Lord, God continues to show favor to the church. How do you experience God’s favor in your life?