Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
…..from the Pastor’s Desk:
John and the Summer Solstice
In all of Christendom, only three people get their birthdays celebrated worldwide:
Jesus,- December 25th, Mary- September 8th and John the Baptist – June 24th. Immediately we should recognize that this solemnity is very important for the Church.
We celebrate John’s birth on June 24th, six months before celebrating the birth of
Jesus on December 25th. Recalling Jesus’ birth at Christmas coincides more or less with the winter solstice. Just as the light of the sun begins to make a comeback after darkness has reached its peak, we celebrate the birth of the Light of the world. The birthday of John the Baptist, in contrast, is recalled just after the summer solstice. This too is symbolic, for as the light of the sun begins to decrease after reaching its peak, we celebrate the birth of the one who said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
This question was asked by the neighbors and relatives: “What will this child turn out to be?” It is a question that could be asked about any of us at any stage of our lives as well, “What will we turn out to be?” or to put the question in terms of religious faith, “What does God want us to be?” “Is there a divine purpose for our lives?” The purpose of John’s life and God’s purposes for all of us have much in common. Our Maker wants all of us to do what John did. He wants us to point out the Savior, to make way for Jesus, to lead others to him by what we say and do.
John the Baptist, whose birth we now celebrate, has something to teach us about how to follow our God-given calling. He was a man of quiet, the desert, and a man of prayer. We all need to find our own desert place of prayer if we are to remain true to our calling to lead others to the Lord, if we are to turn out as God wants us to.