We are mostly familiar with John the Baptist from the readings during Advent, as John was the prophet who immediately preceded Jesus and foretold his coming. His birthday is June 24th which usually falls on a weekday. It is considered an important feast, so important in fact that when it falls on a Sunday – like it does this year – it takes precedence over the usual Sunday – so goodbye 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time! If you are wondering – as I am – how do we know that John’s birthday is the 24th of June then consider this: when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he told her that her cousin, Elizabeth, was already in her sixth month. The Church figured that John’s birth had to have been six months before the birth of Jesus. So, Christmas is six months away and now you know! Actually, the date of his birth is not nearly as important as his message. John’s role in life was to insist on the need to prepare. He called people to repent and prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom. His message is as important today as it ever was! There is a kind of new age theology that says “Don’t worry – we’re all going to heaven. We’ll all be happy in the end.” Actually Jesus, like the Baptist, calls us to repentance and conversion of heart. I think the most important lesson we can learn from the Feast of John the Baptist is to prepare. The fact that you are here in church today is one good sign that you understand the need to prepare! God bless!
Following the WORD OF GOD
Created: July 23, 2004 St. Rosalie Catholic Church