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Catholic Diocese of Umuahia


The Solemnity of the Birthday of John the Baptist 2021
By Fr. Francis Onwunali
Wed, 23 Jun 2021

Readings: Jer.4:1-10; 1 Pet. 1:8-12; Lk. 1:5-17
Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of one of the three birthdays in the Church's liturgical calendar- John the Baptist. The other two are: the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ and Blessed Virgin Mary. These are special celebrations because of their role in the economy of our salvation. The name John is from the Hebrew *Yochanan* meaning "the Lord is gracious". John was specially chosen by God to be the herald of the Saviour and to prepare the people for His coming. The readings all speak about John's unique role of being called even before birth to do the will of God.
The gospel (Luke 1: 57-66, 80) gives account of the birth and naming of  John the Baptist. He was filled with Holy Spirit while still in the womb of Elizabeth when the mother of Jesus, Mary, visited and greeted Elizabeth. Miraculous healing occured at his birth. These all happened in fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading (Is. 49: 1-6).
Dear friends, like John the Baptist, the Lord graciously fills our hearts with His Holy Spirit and wants our faith to come "alive" to His promises. We all share in the mission of John the Baptist- to prepare the way and lead others to the Lord.  God knows you intimately (Ps. 139: 1-5) and has "called you by name" (Is. 43: 1). Am I ready to lead others to Jesus, the Lamb of God?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will be as humble as John the Baptist (Matt. 3: 11; Acts 13: 25) in carrying out our God given mission. May we passionately make known the presence of God who is gracious to the world around us. Have a joy-full day!

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