WEDNESDAY 24TH JUNE 2020
SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTHDAY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 138:1-3,13-15, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66,80
Apart from Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, no other saint in the calendar of the Church has his/her birthday celebrated apart from John the Baptist. This shows how important he is.
Reading the story of how he was born in the gospel reading of today, it confirms what the prophet Isaiah says in the first reading. He was specially prepared to herald the coming of our saviour. He is a relative of Jesus, he was born to Zachariah and Elizabeth the cousin of the Virgin Mary. In the womb of her mother, she was already filled with the Holy Spirit, and she leapt for joy at the sight of the virgin Mary who was carrying Jesus in her womb.
He started his ministry of preaching and called people to baptism of repentance. When Jesus started his ministry, he told all his disciples who were already seeing him as the messiah that Jesus is the messiah, he had only come to prepare the way for his coming. The second reading of today tells us that when God planned that Jesus a descendant of David be born to liberate us from our sins, he also sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for him. According to John, Jesus must increase while he decreases (John 3:30). Some of the Apostles of Jesus were formally working with John the Baptist.
The story of his death at the hands of Herod Antipas through the plot of Herodias the illegitimate wife of the king and the useless dance of salome her daughter though very painful, is also very assuring. He died for the truth. He condemned evil and stood for justice.
John the Baptist shows that it is not the length of life that matters, we should think more of the quality of life we live. Can we stand for truth to the point of death?According to Jesus, of all children born of women, there is no one greater than John the Baptist (Luke 7:28).
We pray for the grace of God to achieve our mission quietly, and to be able to stay on the path of truth. Amen. God help us.
Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP