Posted by: fvbcdm | June 24, 2014

Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (24 June 2014)

Today we celebrated the birthday of Saint John the Baptist, one of the only three persons whose birthdays we celebrate in the Church calendar. That is because most of us are born into this world in original sin, that is, without the state of grace. But when the holy ones of God die, they do so in the state of God=s grace, having acquired it in this life by Baptism and a life of virtue. So we celebrate their death to this life and their birth into eternal life by observing the date of their death, if we know it. But there are three persons whom we know to have been born in the state of grace, namely, Our Divine Lord, His blessed Mother, and Saint John the Baptist. The latter was sanctified, as Scripture tells us, when Our Lady, pregnant with Christ, entered the home of the unborn John’s parents and the baby leaped for joy and acknowledgment of the presence of Christ in the womb of Our Lady. The other two born without original sin are, of course, Our Divine Lord Himself, and His blessed Mother.

Why do we celebrate the birth of Saint John the Baptist on June 24 and that of Jesus on December 25, since in fact, we do not know the dates of their births? We know from the gospel that Saint John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus. We don’t know the dates of their births, but the celebration of those two holy births on their present dates is a delightful use of scripture. In the gospel, as Saint John the Baptist is approaching his death, he says about Jesus: He must increase; I must decrease. Now, the longest and shortest days of the year are the summer and winter solstices: June 21st and December 21st. After June 21, the days begin to grow shorter; after December 21, they begin to grow longer. So early on in the history of Christianity, the births of these two men were fixed just three or four days after those solstices: Jesus to increase as does the sunshine in the northern hemisphere, John to decrease.

It was Saint John the Baptist who first called Jesus “the Lamb of God,” meaning the sacrificial lamb whose blood saved the family who smeared its blood on their doors at the time of the Passover in Egypt. When we adore Our Lord at Mass, calling Him by that same beautiful title, we are recalling and imitating the devotion of Saint John the Baptist to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you, Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago


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