Today we commemorate the birth of the last Old Testament prophet, but also the prophet who would have the grace of heralding the Messiah. This solemnity, a few months after the Annunciation, remembers the first rays of the dawn of hope that became Our Savior. John, like Mary, is the first rays of a new life that would be restored and one day achieve fullness in Christ. As the First Reading reminds us today he, like Our Lord, would have suffering in the fulfillment of his mission for the sake of the Messiah.
John would be beheaded in prison before Our Lord carried out the work of redemption on the Cross, but the First Reading also reminds us that he would receive his reward and recompense for his service. Even as we celebrate John’s birth today, we also remember his birth into Heaven after successfully completing his mission for the benefit of us all. Even Paul, as today’s Second Reading reminds us, could not forget the role of John, and in many moments of the Acts of the Apostles the disciples encounter those who have only known John, happily baptizing them in Jesus’ name to complete their reconciliation with God.
John is involved in our mission as disciples of Christ, even today. Let’s pray for his intercession on his birthday so that our own mission to herald the Messiah is fruitful.
Readings: Isaiah 49:1–6; Psalm 139:1b–3, 13–15; Acts 13:22–26; Luke 1:57–66, 80. See also Advent, December 23rd and Birth of St. John the Baptist.