Lantern of Light

John the Baptist

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Today is a very special day for me. It is actually an anniversary for me – the anniversary of my baptism. That’s right. Thirty-nine years ago, I was baptized into the faith, and it is celebrated as one of the most important days of my life.

It is also the feast day of John the Baptist. I think it is just so wonderful and such an amazing gift to be baptized on the feast of John the Baptist.

I know some people have been questioning what I might be doing right now as I pursue consecrated life and discern this call within a call that God has given me. The first questions people ask are: where are you going to live, what are you going to do, and how are you going to be paid.

Questions like that for me are practical things that need to be answered; but, right now, I am really trying to find and live out the life that God has called me to. Ultimately, the call within the call that I am trying to discern right now seems to be the sense of really finding a way to go out in the world to bring light to those in darkness and try to help people grow in their prayer life.

I want to use every opportunity available both in person and through social media via some of the videos I develop, which some of you are listening to right now on a podcast.

John the Baptist was a figure that seemed kind of strange to people back then. He lived in the desert and fed on honey and locust. He was also the greatest prophet that ever was who had prophesized the coming of Jesus.

We hear in the first reading today from the prophet Isaiah, “I will make you light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” That is part of my call right now. God continues to want to bring about this light to all nations.

I am stepping away from parish ministry right now, but that is only to allow myself to go out further into the world to be this light to all nations. It really is amazing because we have this wonderful opportunity with the internet that we didn’t have thousands of years ago, not even 10 years ago.

We can communicate with people all over the world. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to reach the ends of the earth. We hear in the psalm “I praise you, Lord, for I am wonderfully made.” I love how the psalmist talks about God who quotes him and knows him. He knows when I sit and when I stand. He understands all my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rests he scrutinizes.

For me, this is really a time of journeying. I really don’t know how this is going to look or how it is going to work out. I am journeying and trusting that God will continue to call me, enlighten me with the Holy Spirit, and help me to bring his word to all nations.

The wonderful thing is that I, in my baptism, was incorporated into this Body of Christ. All of you who are listening right now, if you were baptized, you were baptized to be a Priest, Prophet, and King. In that very same way, God wants to reach to the ends of the earth through you – through what you are doing, through the people that you interact with, through your family, through the work that you do, through your life and through the ministry.

Whatever it is that you do, God wants to be a part of that. He wants to work through you. As we celebrate this great feast day of John the Baptist we remember that he did things that were unknown to people.

Why was he in the desert? What was he doing out there?

I must believe that he was praying, that he was fasting, that he was probably wandering at times.

Above all, he was yearning and searching for the Savior so that when he came he could point him out. So, as I enter this new consecration and this discernment, I ask that you pray for me as well that I may continue to be molded and shaped into the priest that God wants me to be; and ultimately, I can help to be his servant and take his gospel to the ends of the world.

About the Author Fr. Michael Denk

Fr. Michael was ordained into priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland on May 12, 2007. He is dedicated to helping others encounter Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, preaching, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, spiritual direction, and prayer.

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I'm Father Michael J. Denk, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. I am a contributor of content to The Prodigal Father Productions, Inc., a non-profit corporation functioning in accord with the traditions and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The corporation and I are separate, it doesn't speak for me, the parish, or on behalf of the Diocese of Cleveland, and I do not speak for it.