Daily Reflection, June 24, 2023

Nativity of John the Baptist


Isaiah 49:1-6
Acts 13:22-26
Luke 1:57-66, 80


The birth of a long-awaited child is an occasion of great joy. God showed his kindness to Elizabeth and Zechariah, fulfilling their desire to have a child.  For Zechariah and Elizabeth, the long-awaited child brought joy not just to them but to all their neighbours.

June 24th is the celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. The gospel reminds us of the birth of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. The story of the birth of John parallels in many ways that of the birth of Jesus. They both evoke feelings of wonder and amazement.

Elizabeth was past normal childbearing years but accepted this later in life gift of a child.  Zechariah, a priest who served in the Temple in Jerusalem, was told one night by the Archangel Gabriel that Elizabeth would give birth to a boy they must name John. Zechariah was dumbfounded. When he disbelieved the message from Gabriel, he was rendered speechless until the child’s birth. We hear in the gospel that as soon as he wrote the name John, his tongue was loosened and he was able to speak again, giving blessing to God.

Everyone was confounded by this event. They did not know what to make of it. The friends and neighbours of Elizabeth and Zechariah asked: “Who, what will this child be?” They believed that the hand of God was upon this child!

By giving the child this new name shows that God has a special mission for him.

 ‘John’ means: ‘God is gracious’.

How has God been gracious to me?

Joanne McGrath is a parishioner of St Brigid’s Marrickville and a Passionist Companion.

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