The Nativity of John the Baptist

Is 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66 & 80 (Year B)

“Before John ended his career he said, ‘I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandals.’ ”

As we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist we celebrate the one described by Jesus as “the greatest of those born of women”. His greatness lay not so much within himself as in his consuming focus on Jesus as the coming Messiah.

Like many prophets who had gone before, John recognised that life’s ultimate purpose is to give glory to God. “The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name. He said to me ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I shall be glorified.’ ”

The words of the prophet Isaiah describe perfectly the vision that grounded John the Baptist’s mission, and that must become the path for every true disciple. A loving Father has fashioned us for some definite purpose, and the unfolding of our lives must be to his glory rather than our own.

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