June 23, 2024

June 23, 2024

The story of the conception and birth of John the Baptist is a very human story. His aged parents, childless, conceive a son in their old age just as Abraham and Sarah had conceived Isaac. God's promise of salvation seems to include the birth of very extraordinary children!

John was, as the prophet Isaiah says, known to God from his earliest days, fashioned in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, in secret, before anyone but she knew. He was strong in spirit from before his birth, and he grew to become the most powerful preacher and prophet. He was the chosen forerunner of the Lord; Elijah the prophet came back to announce the coming of the Messiah and to prepare the people by a baptism of repentance. 

With the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist also comes the summer solstice. John the Baptist always said: "He must increase, while I must decrease." Nature bears this out with the sunligh. With the summer solstice, the amount of sunlight diminishes, while with the winter solstice just days before Christmas, the amount of sunlight increases. In many countries, special bonfires are lit and blessed on this special day in honor of St. John the Baptist. I was privileged to be part of such a blessing last summer, and it was truly a memorable event. Might be nice to have one here someday. Happy Namesday to all named John.