Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

IS 49:1-6, ACTS 13:22-26, LK 1:57-66, 80

The Forerunner of the Christ – a man named John sent by God to prepare people’s hearts.

John’s nativity was a miracle; he was born to an elderly and barren couple who never lost hope in God’s promise. Elizabeth and Zechariah offered their ardent prayer, day and night.  In time God heard and blessed them.  Their child was the forerunner of Jesus.

This feast points us to several moments of grace.  One is Elizabeth and Zechariah’s trust in God.  Even though the promise shocked them, they knew their child would be a great prophet of God.

The other is God’s intervention in human life.  The work of God here echoes the mystery of the Incarnation that happens with Jesus.  God’s desire for the human race is at the front of this story.  Here, in human life, human struggle, human joy, God dwells.

The other grace is the revelation to the wider family that God is present.  At the child’s circumcision, Elizabeth and Zechariah insist on his name:  John.  Not just any name but one chosen by God; now the people know God is in their midst.

John’s nativity prepares us for the Christ.  We wonder, with all the world, what sort of child will he be?

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