May the Lord bless you with peace and blessings. It is 23rd June. We celebrate the solemnity of the birth of St John the Baptist. We reflect on Isaiah 49:1-6 and Luke 1:57-66, 80.
“You and I have been created for greater things. We have not been created to just pass through this life without aim. And that greater aim is to love and be loved,” says St. Mother Theresa.
Are we living up to our names?
The Church celebrates the birthdays of Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist only. John the Baptist is the only saint whose birth is celebrated so pompously in the Church after Christ.
The name “John” means ‘gift of God’. Every birth is a joyous celebration for the family and community at large. The joyful importance of John’s birthday can be linked to the meaning of his name in Hebrew. “Yeho-hanan,” means “the Lord is gracious.” Again, a few births spark extraordinary blessings for the entire world.
Yes, every birth is a gift not just for ourselves but for the welfare of the world. The herald heeded the voice of the Saviour as he expressed his deep love for Him as he leapt for joy in the womb.
The purpose of every birth is to fulfil the plan and the mission of God on earth. All four Gospels agree that John the Baptist, the harbinger, the Lord’s precursor, is the one who prepared the way for the Lord. His purpose was: “Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn.3:30)
The birth of John restored the speech of his father, Zachary. As St. Augustine so beautifully puts it, “Zachary’s tongue was loosened because a voice was born.” We too are called to be the voice of the Eternal Word, the Christ. Jesus applauded him: “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist, yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt.11:11).
We all can learn so many lessons from the birth and life of John the Baptist. A few to mention: keeping the direction and destination clear on God, choosing the second position, being filled with joy and happiness, filled, and guided by the Holy Spirit, listening, and echoing the voice of the Lord, and doing what is entrusted to the end, humble to the core, embracing suffering, and unwavering in proclaiming and witnessing the truth.
Let us know our calling to resound the voice of the Lord in the land of the living.
May the Lord help us to be the gift, the voice, and the witness to the end.