Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist, Wednesday, 24-06-2020

Isaiah 49: 1-6/ Acts 13:22-26/ Luke 1: 57-66, 80

The birth of a child is certainly not a casual or ordinary matter.

There is a whole spectrum of emotions involved – excitement, anxiety, worry, happy …

And along with that are hopes and dreams and expectations of what the future will be like with the arrival of the child.

Indeed, the birth of a child is no ordinary or casual matter.

We can even say that every birth of a child changes the whole of humanity.

And the birth of John the Baptist, the feast that we celebrate today, is certainly quite dramatic.

When his father, Zechariah, the priest of the Temple, was told by the angel Gabriel that his wife Elizabeth would conceive a child even though she was advanced in age and considered barren, Zechariah was skeptical and cynical.

For that he was struck dumb.

And then when Mary visited Elizabeth, the baby leapt in her womb. That must be really dramatic for Elizabeth.

As if that was not dramatic enough, then comes the naming of the baby.

Elizabeth and Zachariah insisted that he be called “John” and then Zechariah regained his power of speech and he praised God.

The neighbours were awed and with so much drama, they wondered what would this child turn out to be.

They might have thought that John would follow his father’s footsteps and become a priest of the Temple, or become someone famous and influential in the world of status and lime-light.

Yes, he did become someone famous and influential.

He became John the Baptist, who wore clothes made of camel-hair and ate locusts and wild honey and lived in the wilderness of the desert.

His name was John (Yehonan) and his name means “God is gracious” or “the grace of God”.

Indeed, it was the grace of God that chose him to be the greatest of all the prophets, because it was he who pointed out Jesus, the Lamb of God, to the people.

Yes, John the Baptist lived up to his name as “the grace of God”.

His call for repentance and conversion led people to the baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

John the Baptist prepared the people for the gracious coming of the Son of God among the people.

As we celebrated the feast of the birth of John the Baptist, we honour the great prophet who prepared the way for Jesus Christ.

We also give thanks for the outpouring of God’s grace, the grace that will also makes us prophets of God.