This Solemnity celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist who prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord
Reflections on the readings for the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 23, 2022): IS 49:1-6; PS 139:1-3,13-14,14-15; Acts 13:22-26; LK 1:57-66,80
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today, we salute the birth of John. Family, friends, and neighbors all understood that he would be someone special. While they could not know all that the angel Gabriel had told his father Zechariah in the temple, they knew that he had returned from the temple unable to speak.
The last time that we celebrated a Nativity was on Christmas day, the birth of the Child Jesus, the Son of God and Son of the Blessed Virgin. The next Nativity will venerate His mother Mary. Both Mary and Jesus Christ were conceived without the stain of original sin. St. John the Baptist is the only other person to be singled out in this way on the Church calendar. Almost always, saints are honored on or near the date of their deaths; that is when they completed their life and service to God on earth and received His embrace in heaven. However, John had a profound and singular role in making not only their own Jewish people, but, indeed, the world, ready for the arrival of the Christ. So he was granted the sacred gift of having all trace of sin removed from his soul when Mary visited John’s mother Elizabeth. At Mary’s words of greeting, indicating not only her presence but that of our Redeemer within her womb, the Holy Spirit took action and Elizabeth’s unborn baby leaped for joy.
Today, we salute the birth of John. Family, friends, and neighbors all understood that he would be someone special. While they could not know all that the angel Gabriel had told his father Zechariah in the temple, they knew that he had returned from the temple unable to speak. And soon Elizabeth’s pregnancy was recognized -- this in one beyond child-bearing years. The Gospel tells how those gathered for the infant’s circumcision were stunned that Elizabeth did not want him named after his father, but rather John. And Zechariah confirmed this in writing. “Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, ‘What, then, will this child be?’ For surely the hand of the Lord was with him” (Luke 1:64-66). The Lord was certainly with St. John the Baptist who would live and die serving God and His Son, our Savior.
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask St. John the Baptist to help us have an ever greater gratitude for the sacrament of Baptism. We can pray to better understand and treasure our gift of faith in Jesus Christ, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.