Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist
Malvern Minute

 

Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist

June 24, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 139

Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26

Luke 1:57-66, 80

 

“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb He gave me my name,” Isaiah 49.

The birth of a new baby brings family and friends together to congratulate the new parents and to rejoice in the hope that birth brings to families and friends alike.  In Elizabeth and Zachariah’s case the delight was “exponentially” greater because Elizabeth was apparently too old to have a child.

“Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb,” Psalm 139.

We know that this husband and wife were totally loyal to God.  It must have seem to their community that God was punishing them with childlessness for something, even as Zachariah grew old in his priestly service in the temple.  Then, suddenly, God’s time came to pass, and He sent a messenger to Zachariah to tell him that Elizabeth had conceived and would bear a son who was to be named John.  However, Zachariah was too stunned and disbelieving to praise God so his voice was silenced and he couldn’t speak. 

“When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.  The Lord had shown great mercy toward her,” Luke 1.

Nine months later, after a three month visit from her young cousin Mary who was also extraordinarily pregnant, Elizabeth, despite her old age, delivers a son whom, she announces to all, is to be named John, which means “Praise God.”  With this joyful event the elderly mute priest asked for a tablet to write the name “Praise God.” Then he found his voice.  Once he knew how to praise God he could speak, and did he ever!  “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has come to His people and set them free,”

“John heralded His coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel,” Acts 13.

Sisters and brothers, today is a great birthday.  It is not only the day the Church marks the birth of John the Baptist; it is the day that we mark the birth of God’s plan in salvation history.    The Prophet of the Messiah has come and while the light of the sun in the northern hemisphere begins to diminish, John prepares the new fires to be lit on the hilltops and in the valleys.  The new light of Emmanuel, God with us, who will be born again in our hearts six months from now.

So, to all you John’s, Giovanni’s, Ivan’s, Jan’s, Juan’s and Yianna’s,  HAPPY FEAST DAY and “PRAISE GOD!”      

Question of the DayLike Zechariah will you listen to the voice of God with prayer, perseverance and trust? 

Prayer:  Lord God, you raised up Saint John the Baptist to prepare a perfect people for Christ.  Fill Your people with the joy of possessing Your grace and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of peace and salvation.  Amen (From “Lives of the Saints – Illustrated”)

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

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