Dearest friends in Christ, in a postmodern society where it seems that the light of Christ is dimmed; we are called to contemplate upon the person of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Lord and bore witness to that one true Light – our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. This is a clear indication of the great importance and vital role of St. John the Baptist in the economy of salvation. © Fr. Today, as we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, we are remembering someone who was called by God to deliver a message and a man who took this mission very seriously. In response to Zechariah’s unbelief, St. Gabriel declares in a verse not long after the end of the Gospel passage for the Vigil Mass: “behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass” [Lk 1:20]. Most of our fallen world is a modern Babel. email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org. The prophets were God’s messengers. Zechariah was an elderly husband, yet without children. John is often called the last of the Old Testament Prophets. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST AND OUR CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY, First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6 John the Baptist came to teach us that there is a way out of the darkness and sadness of the world and of the human condition, and that way is Jesus himself. Therefore, his birth was indeed very significant, for it contributed to our salvation history. Jn. Yet their responses differ profoundly. Responsorial Psalm: Ps. What does this mean? b) St. John the Baptist … The celebration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, August 29, is nearly as old as his nativity. Isaiah 49:1-6 + Acts 13:22-26 + Luke 1:57-66,80 ___________________________________. He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and experienced “martyrdom” while witnessing for the Truth. The man persists in unbelief, while the woman believes. One set is proclaimed at Vigil Masses on the evening before the feast day, while the other set is proclaimed on the day itself. 1:6-8). It is the inheritance of every single person. As with the Gospel narratives of Jesus’ birth, the child to be born is the focus, but not the central actor. And indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. He was a model of selflessness and humility and said, “Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet” (Acts 13:25). With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him” (Lk. Thus, since John the Baptist was the first who preached repentance; therefore, rightly from that day forward it may be said, that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. He not only baptized Jesus, but pointed Him out to his own disciples. Here, we talk about the availability of the Kingdom of heaven for all, but the onus lies in the hands of each person to radically take it, seize it, lay hold of it (that is the violence)! Saint Augustine in Sunday’s Office of Readings explains that “the silence of Zechariah is nothing but the age of prophecy lying hidden, obscured, as it were, and concealed before the preaching of Christ.” Later in the same sermon, St. Augustine expounds the distinction between Jesus and His cousin: “The voice is John, but the Lord ‘in the beginning was the Word.’ John was a voice that lasted only for a time; Christ, the Word in the beginning, is eternal.”. Everyone knows that we celebrate Jesus’s birth at Christmas, but we also celebrate the Virgin Mary’s birth on September the 8th every year too. For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. Saint Gabriel appears to each of them separately, and tells each not to be afraid. Thomas Hoisington, S.T.L. Lk 1:39-45); Of John the Baptist, Christ said: of all men born of women, none is greater than John the Baptist (cf. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ He showed them how to find Christ, the one who could bring them salvation. Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. This is a rare event in the liturgical calendar of the church. 1:14). Yet such a death was meant all along in God’s Providence to be fulfilled by a new life, like the grain of wheat that dies in order to bear much fruit. 138(139):1-3,13-15 On June 24th every year, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist. In the Gospel passages for today’s feast, the central actor is John’s father, Zechariah. The silence of Zechariah is what St. John of the Cross writes about: “What we need most in order to make [spiritual] progress is to be silent before this great God, with our appetites and our tongue.”, This silence is a means to man’s true end. About this final silence, the end of all we are and do as disciples of the Word made Flesh, St. John of the Cross also speaks: “the Father spoke one Word, which was His Son, and this Word He speaks always in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul.”. It was also for Zechariah, the fulfilment of the divine promise, especially when he recovered his speech to confirm the name of the boy: “His name is John,” as we read in today’s gospel reading. 1:14-17). John the Baptist announce the coming of the Savior, Jesus. The birth of John the Baptist was a blessing to his parents and humanity. Mary was a young betrothed virgin. We are all invited to reflect and bear witness to that Light of Christ in bringing about true conversion to the world and a radical possession of the Kingdom of heaven: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12). St. John the Baptist was born to preach the message of repentance: the need to accept ourselves as sinner, and the need to accept Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away our sins and those of the whole world.
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