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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

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Birth of St. John the Baptizer

Isaiah 49:1-6
Acts 13:22-26
Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15
Luke 1:57-66, 80

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great, greater, greatest

"Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?" —Luke 1:66

John the Baptizer was born of a barren woman (Lk 1:7). His father, Zechariah, was deaf and dumb throughout the nine months of Elizabeth's pregnancy (Lk 1:20, 62). Zechariah was miraculously healed at John's circumcision (Lk 1:64). These astounding events surrounding the conception and birth of John the Baptizer prompted the question: "What will this child be?" (Lk 1:66)

The answers to this question are:

  1. John the Baptizer was the "prophet of the Most High" (Lk 1:76).
  2. He was the new Elijah (Lk 1:17; Mt 11:14).
  3. "He was the lamp, set aflame and burning bright" (Jn 5:35).
  4. John was "a voice in the desert, crying out: 'Make straight the way of the Lord!' " (Jn 1:23)
  5. He was not "a reed swaying in the wind" or "someone luxuriously dressed" (Mt 11:7-8).
  6. He was not worthy to unfasten Jesus' sandals (Acts 13:25).
  7. John the Baptizer was the greatest person that had ever been born of woman up to that time (Mt 11:11).

Yet you and I, "the least born into the kingdom of God," are greater than John (Mt 11:11). John the Baptizer was the greatest, but we are greater than the greatest because of what Jesus has done in our lives.

Prayer:  Jesus, You are the Greatest, and I am in You and You in me (Jn 6:56).

Promise:  "My reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God." —Is 49:4

Praise:  St. John the Baptizer set a great example of calling sinners to God, especially from public and sexual sins. His humility paved the way for the mission of Jesus.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009

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