Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist
Fr Paul reads the Gospel from Luke (1:57-66, 80) and says it is interesting to note that no other saint, except the Blessed Virgin Mary, has a feast to celebrate their birthday.
John the Baptist has two feasts celebrated during the Church’s year – in June, we celebrate his birth and in August, we remember his death. Fr Paul says this is quite right because as Jesus, himself, said of John the Baptist that there was ‘no one greater’.
As we hear in this Gospel, John’s name was not one of the family names. It was quite irregular at that time for a woman to speak up and to name her son but in this case, she does. They check with the child’s father and he, too, says the child’s name will be ‘John’. Everyone is astonished at this.
We know that John leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary and the child Jesus came to visit during both women’s time of pregnancy.
We know also that John was asked to prepare the way for Jesus’s coming and he did so with great courage and humility. It could have been so easy for John to have continued, having gathered the crowds as he did, and yet when Jesus came and was baptised he humbly stepped aside and Jesus began his ministry.
As we celebrate the birthday of St John the Baptist, Fr Paul says we might reflect on the ways we can be like John in our own lives… Can we be as courageous as John was in proclaiming our faith? Can we be as humble as John was, allowing others to step forward and take the glory, while we step back and allow that to happen?