Tony Worner, Leader of Lay Formation for St Agnes’ Catholic Parish, reads from Luke’s Gospel (1: 57-55, 80) as today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.

Tony says today is a solemnity – a great feast – the most significant feast the Church can establish. While other saints are remembered with feast days to remember their deaths, St John the Baptist, like Our Lady, is honoured with solemnities to recall both his birth and his death.

While never overshadowing the Father, the Son or the Spirit, the mysteries of John’s birth play a prominent role in the life of the Church and is therefore given special significance by the Church.  The Liturgy particularly reinforces this significance, as we have both Vigil readings and prayers and separate readings and prayers when Mass is celebrated during the day. Not only that, but the Gloria and Creed are also said.

And so, Tony notes, we have this great person, John, who was around the same age of Jesus, baptised Jesus, and according to the Gospels, died just before him. In his ministry, John prepared the way for Jesus’ mission and we celebrate and acknowledge this in the season of Advent.

For our reflection Tony asks: What do we do to prepare for Jesus to come into our life? How do we make ourselves ready to accept Jesus into our life?

As Tony’s reflection draws to a close he invites us to pray: God, just as you sent John the Baptist into the world to prepare people for the ministry of Jesus, send the Spirit into our lives, to prepare and open our hearts to accept Christ. Amen