Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
June 24, 2018
A new baby in the family! A birth creates a lot of excitement among family, friends, and neighbors. Today’s Gospel tells the story of a birth that attracted a lot of attention!
Saint Luke precedes the birth story of Jesus with an equally wondrous birth: that of John the Baptist. An angelic annunciation prepares the way, as the Angel Gabriel visits Zechariah to tell him that his wife Elizabeth is with child. The doubting father finds himself unable to speak, until the scene described in today’s Gospel. There, Zechariah confirms in writing that the newborn child will be called John. Zechariah’s tongue is loosed, and he begins to praise God, causing fear and marveling among all who hear the story.
Today’s feast honors John as a forerunner of Christ. John’s birth, announced by the angel and greeted with acclaim and promise, parallels that of Jesus. The story of Zechariah’s miraculous recovery of speech, along with what we know about John’s career as a herald of the Messiah, reminds us that—in our own time—we’re called by the Church to what the late Pope John Paul II called a “new evangelization.” John’s role in the story of Christ affirms our own vocation as evangelizers.