Posted by: livingscripture | June 24, 2015

Birth of John the Baptist

From the Word of the Day


“In those days, Paul said: 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)

How should we live this WordJohn points

 Today’s Liturgy celebrates the solemnity of the birth of St. John the Baptist.  He is the only one, besides Jesus Christ and His Mother, whose birth in the flesh we celebrate in a solemn way and not only his birth into heaven as we do for all the other saints.  This feast has given rise to many folkloristic manifestations during the centuries that sometimes have a flavor more profane than Christian.  We must be attentive to recuperate the Biblical and spiritual dimension of the figure and feast of St. John the Baptist.

Pondering on the second reading from Acts, we see Paul speaking in Pisidia, Antioch that reveals the great personality of the Precursor of Christ. “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.’  He is only the witness, and before Christ, he feels even less than a slave.  John does not claim anything for himself and declares that he is ‘only a voice that cries out’ at the service of the Messiah.  The Precursor was only the finger pointed toward the Messiah.  He indicated His presence and then he left and was eclipsed.  John hurried to diminish so that Jesus would grow.  He immersed himself in solitude and disappeared in the extreme witness of martyrdom that shows his faith and permits him to be confirmed as the servant of His Lord.

Loving John the Baptist constitutes an on-going education to be docile and attentive to the coming of Christ into our life.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will meditate on this great saint and his willingness to point the way to Christ.

O Father, you sent John the Baptist to prepare for Christ the Lord a people well-disposed, make Your Church rejoice in the abundant gifts of the Spirit and guide it on the way of salvation and of peace.

 The Voice of St. Peter Damian, Doctor of the Ancient Church

The birth of John the Baptist immediately reminds us of that of Jesus.  The miraculous birth of the Precursor, generated by an elderly father and a barren mother, had no other aim than that of preparing the imminent coming of the Savior.  The friend had to be born before the Spouse; the servant before His Lord; the voice before the Word; the flame before the Sun, the messenger before the Judge; the redeemed before the Redeemer.


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