This Sunday we celebrate the feast day for the birth of John the Baptist. If you do the math, you'll notice that we are exactly 6 months away from our celebration of the birth of Christ, which is consistent with the biblical account of Mary's conception of Jesus. St. Luke's Gospel teaches us that Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, concealed her pregnancy for 5 months (Luke 1:24) and that when she was 6 months pregnant Mary was visited by Gabriel, who announced to her that she would conceive Jesus (Luke 1:26-28).
Our celebration of the Nativity of John the Baptist is the celebration of the birth of one who was promised to be the messenger of the coming of Christ; he was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. As we reflect upon the birth of John, we are reflecting upon the birth of one whose life, even while in the womb, was dedicated to proclaiming the wonder of of the coming of God incarnate, the Word made flesh, to dwell among us. Even in the womb he leapt with joy when he encountered the incarnate God in the womb of Jesus' Blessed Mother (Luke 1:41). His birth is the picture of a life lived, in its entirety, from miraculous conception to martyr's death, in submission to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
While our own births may not be preceded by the pronouncement of an angel and while we may not be called to sequester ourselves in the wilderness to draw people away from the chaos in life to reflect upon the Gospel of love and life, that the Creator of the world would be willing to step into His creation to show His love and compassion and kindness to the world, we are still called to be ministers of His Gospel. John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Incarnate Christ, whose message was one of anticipation and preparation; we are ambassadors of that same Incarnate Christ, and our message is that the hope of the world has already come, has already forgiven us, and has already begun the work of reconciling us back to himself.
We are messengers of hope; hope of what has already come and already occurred. May the hope of the Gospel be evident as we show the world that God did not abandon His creation.
(As published in St Luke's Weekly Newsletter, 6/20/18)