Sunday, June 23, 2013


Daniel Bonnell- USA
June 24 we celebrate the birthday of St. John The Baptist. Christians have long interpreted the life of  ST. JOHN the BAPTIST as a preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. The circumstances of his birth, as recorded in the New Testament, are miraculous. John's pivotal place in the gospel is seen in the emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself- both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus.

At the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she would conceive of the Holy Spirt, he also informed her that Elizabeth, her cousin, was already six months pregnant (Luke 1:36). Mary then journeyed to visit Elizabeth. Luke’s Gospel recounts that the baby “leapt” in Elizabeth’s womb at the greeting of Mary.

Brigid Marlin- USA

The sole biblical account of the birth of  St. John the Baptist comes from the Gospel of Luke. John’s parents, Zechariah or Zachary, a Jewish priest, and Elizabeth, were without children and both were beyond the age of child-bearing. During Zechariah's rotation to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was chosen by lot to offer incense at the Golden Altar in the Holy Place. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife would give birth to a child, and that they should name him John. Due to Elizabeth's "old age" Zechariah did not believe the message of Gabriel and so was rendered speechless until the time of John's birth.

When the child was born, his relatives wanted to name the child after his father, but Zechariah wrote, "His name is John" . At this his mouth was opened and he could speak (Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-66). Following Zechariah's obedience to the command of God, he was given the gift of prophecy, and foretold the future ministry of John (Luke 1:67-79).

Birth of  St. John- Spanish 1525
Ordinarily the day of a saint's death is usually celebrated as his or her feast day, because that day marks their entrance into heaven. There are two notable exceptions: the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of St. John the Baptist. Mary, already in the first moment of her existence, was free from original sin (Immaculate Conception), while John was cleansed of original sin in the womb of his mother. St. Augustine mentioned this belief as a general tradition in the ancient Church. He was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1, 15) and, therefore, born without original sin.

 St. John the Baptist is patron of tailors (because he made his own garments in the desert), of shepherds (because he spoke of the "Lamb of God"), and of masons. This patronage over masons is traced to his words:
    Make ready the way of the Lord, make straight all his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, And the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth. (Luke 3, 4-6.)

Athanasios Clark

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