Happy Birthday to You, John the Baptist!


Today is the celebration of the birthday of Saint John the Baptist.  Born to Zacharias, a priest, and his wife, Elizabeth, John is the cousin of Jesus.  When the angel  of the Lord appears to him in the Holy of Holies, Zacharias questions the angel’s prophetic words and is struck silent until John is born (Luke 1:20).  How ironic that John the Baptist is born to proclaim the Gospel, to speak the words of God’s truth, and prepare God’s people for  the arrival of Jesus Christ, but his father will be rendered mute until John’s arrival.  He will inspire and incite many.  John’s role as the one who baptizes Jesus is not to be under appreciated.  According to God’s will, Jesus goes down to the river Jordan to be baptized by John and so the Church of Christ universal receives its Sacrament of Baptism.  Like so many of Christ’s faithful followers, John will pay for his public proclamations of faith and God’s truth.  He will lose his head at the hands of Herod.

(Image courtesy of beingisgood.blogspot.com)

I love this rendering of John the Baptist because he was slightly older than Jesus, and this looks much like Jesus, but scruffier.  That’s just how I envision John.  Take a moment this day to give thanks to God for his prophets, his messengers, especially John the Baptist.  John’s gift to us was the legacy of baptism, and our gift to him should be our thankful remembrance of our own baptism. 

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