Today’s readings offer the gift of joy, and the invitation to hear and respond to God who is reaching out to draw us ever closer.

In the First Reading, the Prophet Baruch reminds us that, despite all the challenges to our faith and hope in the Lord, we are called to follow God by the light of salvation.

Today’s Gospel puts this salvation of the Lord in a specific political, historical and geographical setting. By firmly anchoring the ministry of John the Baptist to a particular point in history, St Luke also gives weight to the reality of Jesus in a time and place. (Some scholars have deduced from these historical references that Jesus was baptised in the October of AD 27 – just after his thirtieth birthday – and was crucified on 3rd April AD 30). In addition, Luke introduces us to ‘the voice’ that will announce the Saviour with insistence and urgency.

The Psalmist heralds the marvels worked for us by the Lord.

St Paul (Second Reading), writing this letter of gratitude to the church at Philippi from prison, acknowledges his confidence in the one who, in us, will complete these good work of faith.

In the coming week, how may I be a ‘voice crying in the wilderness’? How can I more fruitfully respond to Christ’s wonderful call? How will I continue to discern what is always best?