[block_title inner_style_title=”two_titles” title=”24 June” subtitle=”Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist”][/block_title]

Today we celebrate the feast of the birth of St John the Baptist, the precursor to Christ.  In the Gospels, John the Baptist is described as living in the desert, eating locusts and wild honey and wearing simple attire.  He chose to live a life detached from material possessions and worldly pleasures, concentrating rather on  preaching repentance and spiritual training.

His teachings on generosity and social justice are also significant.  When the crowd asked him what they should do to repent, John replied, ‘The person with two tunics  should share with he who has none and  those who have some food should do the same’ (Lk 3: 11).  Thus he was teaching the importance of sharing  one’s goods with the  most needy ones and about responsible use of resources.

These characteristics of John the Baptist  make him a model for bursars/treasurers, those who manage the material goods of a community or an institution.  His simplicity of life, his  generosity to the poor and his call  to social justice are qualities which inspire  bursars to act responsibly, in fairness and solidarity,  in managing the resources confided to them.

In the document  ‘Spirituality of the Provincial Bursar’ Sr Maura, former Superior General, speaks  to bursars:

Our Foundress was no  doubt influenced by Francis, but then she also brought to her research into God’s ways her feminine qualities and her profound reflection  on the needs of universal mission.  Her contemplative attitude was fundamental  to this missionary service, as with all other services.

In service, one spirit
The missionary spirit that we seek to bring to this complex service can find some useful reference points in the message of John the Baptist.  Like a lamp which lights up our way, not only negatively through denunciation, but also positively by bringing into being what we have promised.

So, we are called firstly to a change of heart, to change interiorly, to have compassion on the poor, to prepare the way for the Other who must come, of whom John declared, ‘He must increase and I must decrease’ (Jn:30).

Once a prophet has shown the way, he/she can disappear: the work is accomplished.  It is in this sense that  a bursar brings to a province a certain cohesion  and solidarity and an authentic desire to serve others.

Let us  ask the Virgin Mary to help us grow in service and  solidarity, just as she told us to:
‘Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).

Bernardo Daddi, San Giovanni Battista (1320 circa; tempera su tavola, 71 x 34 cm; La Spezia, Museo Civico Amedeo Lia)