24th JUNE 2024

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist



Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist


Is 49: 1-6           Ps 139: 1-3, 13-15      Acts 13: 22-26           Lk 1: 57-66, 80



The Solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist is in essence a summary of the history of salvation. This solemnity not only demonstrates the importance of the person and mission of Jesus, but also a revelation of a God who saves humanity by forgiving their sins at the cost of the passion and death of His son, Jesus. The divine plans and designs are mysterious, even before our conception, God knows each of us and he chooses those whom he wants and shapes them for a unique mission. Those chosen and set aside are to be his obedient servants, so that in and through whom God would display his splendour.

The first reading would allude to the fact that Jesus who is the Only begotten Son would be the suffering servant who would obey his heavenly Father even when he had to undergo humiliating, shameful agony and death on a cross that would become a means of salvation to those who believe in him. This salvation is not limited to Jews, but rather to all gentiles and in fact to reach to the ends of the earth. Through Abraham, the entire humanity is called back to union with God. As the second reading reminded the fellow children of Abraham and God-fearing Gentiles, the message of salvation has been sent to the entire humanity. The message of salvation is objectively available to all, but it is required from each to make it subjectively one’s own through humble submission to God and not earn it on our own merit or nobility.

So, we see how before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. But John the Baptist made it plain that he would not be the messiah that Israelites were looking for as he knew who he himself was before the messiah: “There is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie”. It means that John the Baptist reminds us that first and foremost our attitude towards salvation is our unworthiness to gain it on our own. One more character, apart from Abraham, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, complementary to today’s solemnity, is Zechariah, who gives us the brief summary of what true salvation means, the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins. It is this knowledge which is a gift that speaks about the tender mercy of our God, which lifts us ultimately from the fear and the shadow of death, leading us to life and eternal peace.

John (the Baptist) was chosen from the womb of his mother to proclaim truth and justice, to which he bore witness, and was finally beheaded. His witness was in his way of living and proclamation, that manifested itself along the river Jordan. He was the voice that sounded in the wilderness calling all to prepare the way for the Lord. This voice sounded before Jesus, the Word of God was sent to this world. This voice had four qualities:

  • John was the voice that proclaimed joy. In his mother’s womb John leaped for joy and was prepared to proclaim the joyous message of the saviour’s birth. He recognized the Messiah and was privileged to baptise him. With the baptism of Jesus, the joyful proclamation of the Kingdom of God began.

  • John was the voice that called all to believe. John witnessed the descent of the Holy Spirit on Christ at the time of baptism and prophesied that Jesus is the one who is to come. Even some of John’s disciples followed Jesus because of this proclamation.

  • John was the voice that called for repentance. John proclaimed a baptism of water for the conversion of hearts. His life became a witness of his vocation to be the precursor of the ‘Word’.

  • John was the voice of humility. He had true knowledge of self before God and before the people. Saint Paul affirms the humility of John describing how he acknowledged that he was neither the Messiah to come, nor was he worthy to undo his sandal. John did not seek popularity over truth. The truth was his humble quest in life.

 Today’s feast reminds us of our baptismal call – to proclaim our belief in Jesus and bring all peoples to experience his love.

Response: I thank you who wonderfully made me.

Copyright ©2024 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *