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SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, JUNE 24, 2023









Gospel

"The child grew and became strong in spirit,

and he was in the desert until the day

of his manifestation to Israel."


REFLECTION



John the Baptist is the last of the prophets. He had the courage to tell the truth to the powerful, no matter how his life would be affected. Just a few months older than Jesus, he was His precursor. He was a hermit and a crusader, an orator, compassionate to the poor. He was the link that connected the Old Law of Moses with the New Law of Christ.


The Angel Gabriel first appeared to Zechariah announcing that Elizabeth was with child. When Mary consented to be the Mother of the Messiah, she immediately rushed to see her cousin, Elizabeth. The child within Elizabeth’s body leaped with joy; for the Holy Spirit filled her and washed away any stain of original sin that might have weighed down the spirit or hampered the ambassadorial feet of John the Precursor. (1)


After Mary leaves there is no more interaction between John the Baptist and Jesus until the Baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan. John the Baptist led a hermit life. His baptism, he said, was for repentance. But one would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.


“Do penance”. “For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John the Baptist preached to all.


John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah.


Herod Antipas had John the Baptist arrested and imprisoned after the preacher condemned the king's marriage to his wife, Herodias as illegal because of her previous marriage to his own brother Philip. Prompted by her mother, Herodias, who was infuriated by John's condemnation of her marriage, Salome demanded the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and the unwilling Herod was forced by his oath at a party to have John beheaded.


Pray that the example of John the Baptist with his fierce courage in denouncing evil will be something we follow.


God bless you.




(1) Rev DANIEL A. LORD S.J.. Saint John The Baptist: The Man The Saviour Praised . Kindle Edition.








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