Birth of John the Baptist (Solemnity)

Isaiah 49: 1-6     Acts 13: 22-26    Luke 1: 57-66.80

Theme: The Mercy of God

Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. He was sent by God to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. When we look at the personality of John the Baptist, from the moment the angel announced about him, the joyful moment that Elizabeth and Zachariah are going to have a child, from that very point, we see that John the Baptist was going to be a very peculiar person. From that point to the birth of John the Baptist, we see something unique about him and we see it also during his life until the end of his life. When we look at the person of John the Baptist, there is so much to learn. One of the things that strike me about him is the fact that the parents of John the Baptist, had already forgotten about childbearing because their age had passed already, humanly speaking. That was the situation of the parents of john the Baptist, but everything changed when God got involved in their situation. This teaches us that it is God that has the final say in any situation we encounter in our lives.

This also points to the fact that God never comes late. Have you ever asked yourself why is that it is at the point of old age that John the Baptist was given birth to? It is simply because the appointed time has come for him to accomplish the mission of God. Our situation could also be like that of John’s parents. Sometimes we think that all hope is lost. We fail to understand like Zacharias that God has his own time, he never comes late. He comes at the nick of time; he comes when he is most needed. We see that in the life of John.

Because John was a child divinely destined to be part of the salvation story, he was the forerunner, he made the path straight for the coming of Jesus and showed him to the people when he came. In the person of John, we see some key attributes that challenges us as Christians of today. Because these attributes are becoming short in supply as Christians in our lives today. For instance, in the person of John the Baptist, we see what it means for a prophet to be truthful, objective and be contented with his mission. John the Baptist was always standing for the truth; he spoke the truth even at the expense of his own life. In the same way, we are all encouraged to imbibe these wonderful attributes in our personal lives too.

But for so many of us our light has become dim, so many of us our salt has lost its taste, and we can no longer stand for the truth like John the Baptist. But the world in which we live today, needs people who can stand for the truth and speak the truth. Another wonderful attribute of John is his level of humility, which is seen in the way he handled his mission as the forerunner of Jesus. In his humility he told the people, I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; that is the height of humility. He was not scared to lose his disciples. As followers of Jesus in our time, can we also be humble enough to bring down ourselves and project others? We need to be selfless for the common good of all. It must not always be about us. In our own time people have become more self-centred. Today’s solemnity invites us to be true light and salt of the earth, by emulating the wonderful attributes of John the Baptist. May God help us to be true Christians, in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, Amen. Peace be with you.





Birth of John the Baptist (Solemnity), by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp