Today we celebrate the birth of Saint John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for Our Lord. His preaching to the Israelites was prophesied in Isaiah:
A voice crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’ (Is 40:3).
Saint John the Baptist preached of the coming of the Messiah. John would baptize people at the River Jordon, with water. This baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Yet, John always proclaimed a caveat that someone greater than himself would come after him. He prepared the Israelites for Jesus’ arrival and ministry. Jesus’ form of Baptism would not only take away our Original Sin, but all additional sins committed to date. John merely prepared the way for the Lord.
Saint John the Baptist
Saint John the Baptist is the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Elizabeth is Mary’s cousin. When Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visited Zechariah and Elizabeth, Elizabeth, herself, was six months pregnant. The child in her womb, John, leapt at the sound of Mary’s voice, and the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb. God deemed John as special; so special that an angel appeared to Zechariah one day, while he was praying in the Temple, burning incense. The angel Gabriel said,
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him [Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord (Luke 1:15-17).
Today is a joyous day, a day to celebrate. As I prepared myself to write this post, I could not get the famous song from Godspell out of my mind. I had the great pleasure of seeing this play back in the 1970’s with my husband. So, join me in loudly singing along with the Broadway hit, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.” While you are at it, join me in wishing Saint John the Baptist a very happy birthday!
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