God is Gracious
The celebration of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist helps us to understand how the Lord began the preparation of the coming of His Son. John the Baptist was the precursor who dedicated his life to prepare the way of the Savior. He was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Luke tells us that the Angel Gabriel announced his birth to his father, Zechariah, and gave him the name John, which means “God is Gracious” (Luke 1:8-23). During the visit of Mary to Elizabeth, John, in his mother’s womb, recognized the presence of Jesus by leaping with joy (Luke 1:41). According to professors of the Holy Scriptures, this is the moment when John the Baptist was cleansed of original sin. The Angel Gabriel had previously promised Zechariah that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit even while in the womb (Luke 1:41).
John started his independent life going to the desert, having a simple life like a regular prophet of the Old Testament; wearing a camel-skin garment; and, eating locusts and wild honey (Mark 1:6; Matt 3:4). His entire life was a great proclamation of the goodness of the Lord and an excellent exhortation to prepare their lives with repentance and conversion.
His humility was very clear; people were confused thinking that he was the Messiah, but he was always ready to point to Jesus. “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you the the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8). When Jesus came to John asking for baptism, John recognized Jesus at once and said, “Look, there is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). After Jesus’ baptism, once again, we see John turning the attention to Jesus as he declared, “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Let us pray through the intercession of John to prepare the ways of our lives because the Lord is coming and rejoice in his Holy presence.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Alfonso, June 24, 2018