Celebrating the birth of the one who announced the coming of Jesus
Reflections on the readings for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24, 2020): IS 49:1-6; PS 139:1-3,13-14,14-15; ACTS 13:22-26; LK 1:57-66,80
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
John the Baptist always knew that he himself was not the Messiah.
Celebrating the birth of St. John the Baptist is an ancient tradition within the Church. His ministry of preparing the way for the coming of Jesus Christ was a key part of God’s plan for salvation. “John heralded His coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of His feet’” (Acts 13:24-25). Everything about John’s life was focused on serving God and pointing to His Son. This was clear from the moment of the angel’s announcement of John’s birth was made to his father Zechariah. And this message also made it clear that the Holy Spirit would be with John from the time he was in his mother Elizabeth’s womb as well as the marvelous fact that he had been chosen by God to ready the Jewish people for the Messiah.
John the Baptist always knew that he himself was not the Messiah. Instead, his cousin Jesus was the one whom he had been called to serve. John was given a singular responsibility in courageously telling the many who came to listen to him that the Holy One for whom they had long waited was now with them. He spent most of his life in the desert and on the bank of the Jordan River baptizing people who were willing to hear that it was time to open their hearts to Almighty God with contrition for their sins. And John also urged them to open their eyes to recognize the Christ who would redeem them. But as unusual as John’s life was, it is also true that each one of us is chosen to fulfill God’s will. We do that by living according to His design for the well being of the whole world. Every single child God creates is a vital contributor to the Divine plan by cooperating with His grace. Like John, let us not hold back in doing whatever God wants. Rather, let us zealously proclaim the coming of Christ with our lives.