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Monday, June 24, 2019

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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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a "dear john" letter

"The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb He gave me my name." —Isaiah 49:1

Scientists talk about the genetic code which determines the physiological characteristics a pre-born baby will manifest. The child in the womb will possess the physical traits programmed into the DNA of the fetal cells. Christians refer to the lifelong calling of God made known not only to the child in the womb (Is 49:1; Ps 139:13-15), but even before the earth was formed (Eph 1:4-5).

St. John the Baptizer was "filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb" (Lk 1:15). While still in the womb, John began his prophetic ministry of heralding the coming of Jesus (Acts 13:24), leaping for joy at the sound of the voice of the mother of his Lord (Lk 1:41). At John's birth, a miraculous healing occurred (Lk 1:64), and God received much glory (Lk 1:64, 67ff). The hearts of many were turned to the Lord even before John grew to adulthood (see Lk 1:65-66).

Each person shares the mission of John the Baptizer: to prepare the way of the Lord for some individual or group of people (Mt 3:3). You might have been an unwanted child, but God wanted you and has an important plan for you (Heb 11:40; Eph 2:10). God knows you intimately (Ps 139:1-5) and has "called you by name" (Is 43:1). In Jesus, you are greater than John the Baptizer (Mt 11:11). Therefore, lead others to Jesus, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:36-37).

Prayer:  Jesus, may You increase and I decrease (Jn 3:30).

Promise:  "I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." —Is 49:6

Praise:  The birth of St. John the Baptizer heralded the birth of Jesus and the spiritual rebirth of mankind. Ever humble, he said that he was not worthy to loosen Jesus' sandal strap. He told his followers that he must grow lesser so Jesus could grow more.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 24, 2018

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