Birth of John the Baptist

Beloved Parish Family in Christ Jesus Our Lord,

Our Spiritual journey through this holy season of Announcement is almost over and the Holy Feast Day of Christmas is so near. Before we arrive to the celebration of the Miraculous Birth of Jesus our Lord we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist the one who will prepare everyone for His appearance at the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry. This really super blessed man, who is so well known as the forerunner of Jesus is also His cousin. What was it all like for John the Baptist to claim that this Lord is also related to him?

Not too long ago, when Pope Benedict was our Holy Father, he had a brother who also was an ordained Priest and in time made a Bishop. From various biography accounts we learned a kind of tiny hint of a family member who had for his brother a man who was the Pope for all the Catholic Church. This really is a rare a special thing. It is even a much greater thing for this holy man St. John the Baptist. How great and how wonderful does God do the beautiful things that He does.

In the case of our feast day today, which is the Announcement of the Birth of St. John we rejoice with his elderly Mom and Dad, and all the world, and our entire history for such a wonderful birth because a promise that God made at the beginning of time was finally coming to pass and the birth of this baby John was a sign of that. We thank God for His great kindness, for taking the time to make a preparation before He came to us in our world. Jesus did not come unannounced, he planned for John to be born, and then this John, a man of special graces would take almost all of his life to prepare himself for the great mission set for him. John devoted his life to prayer, fasting and staying close to God and then at the given time he would call out to all the people to get ready for Jesus’ coming. He called all the people to conversion, to confess their sins and be baptized.

And so the mission of repentance he carried out back then is really the mission we need to carry out at this time with the Feast Day of Christmas just a few weeks away. Let us do our repentance and get ourselves spiritually ready for the feast day, get ready for the Christmas Mass, get ourselves ready to receive our Lord Jesus in Holy Communion.

A helpful prayer for us during this week of remembering the Birth of John the Baptist is taken again from the hymn at the Divine Liturgy.

Alleluia! John, O child, you will become God’s mighty prophet, Who will guide all peoples to the Lord and Savior and make straight the way to Him, call them to turn from sin.

Pray, confess, get ready