John the Baptist and the Rest of Us

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The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.” (Luke 1:80)*_

Today is the birthday of Saint John the Baptist. Birthdays are always significant; they give us time to reflect on the celebrant’s life. From the life of John the Baptist, we can see that no human life comes into existence by a mere random act. God is the one who brings human beings to life, and long before we go out of our Mothers’ wombs, God already has a plan for our life.

John the Baptist was not yet born before God sent an Angel to Zechariah, his father telling him how he would have a son despite his old age who would prepare the way for the Messiah. Long before John the Baptist was formed in the womb, he already existed in the mind of God.

Long before we were born, God knew our names, and he had plans for our lives. This is what the Prophet Isaiah relates in our first reading: “The Lord called me from the womb, from my mother’s womb he named my name….”

Dear friends, if God knows our name before birth, he knew about us when we were formed in our mother’s womb. Abortion is the greatest act of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. By killing an unborn baby, we deny them the chance to live out God’s plans. No justification exists for taking anyone’s life, even if it is just a day old in the womb.

Names are not merely means of identification; names are spiritual. A person’s name can affect their life. Our Gospel passage this morning is a record of the naming ceremony of John the Baptist. The family members planned to call him Zechariah after his father because they felt he would re-live his father’s life. But Elizabeth and Zechariah knew this child had a destiny different from his father’s, so they opted for “John” instead.

Just after naming the child, God restored his gift of speech. And guess what? Zechariah, who used to complain and doubt a lot became a changed person; he sang the Benedictus, a song of praise to God. The people wondered: “What will this child turn out to be?” This is the same question we should ask ourselves when encountering little children. Every child deserves respect, care and love because you can never know what that child’s future will be. This baby you see today may one day be your life-saver.

Our second reading sums up the life of John the Baptist. He fulfilled his destiny. He prepared the way for Jesus. He drew people’s attention only to say: “I am not he. No, but after me, one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.” The moment John the Baptist said that he had reached old age. He had finished his work and was now prepared to bow out.

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, increase my respect for the life of the unborn. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Bible Study: Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139, Acts 13:22-26 and Luke 1:57-66,80).*

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu


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