“And you child, will be called the prophet of the Most High." (Lk 1:17.)
These words speak of today's Saint. With these words the priest Zechariah greeted his own son, after having regained the power of speech. With these words he greeted his son, to whom, by his will and to the surprise of the whole family, he gave the name John. Today the Church recalls these events, celebrating the solemnity of the birth of St John the Baptist.
It could also be called the day of the call of John, son of Zechariah and Elizabeth of Ain-Karim, to be the last prophet of the Old Covenant; to be the Messenger and immediate Forerunner of the Messiah: Jesus Christ.
For he, who comes into the world in such unusual circumstances, already brings the divine call with him. This call comes from the plan of God himself, from his salvific love, and it is written in the man's history right from the first moment of conception in his mother's womb. All the circumstances of this conception, as well as the circumstances of John's birth at Ain-Karim, indicate an unusual call.
…We know that John the Baptist answered this call with his whole life. We know that he remained faithful to it until his last breath. And he breathed his last in prison by order of Herod, as a result of the wish of Salome who acted on the instigation of her revengeful mother Herodias.
…God has written the mystery of this call in the heart of each of you. We can repeat with the Prophet: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." (Jer 31:3.)
-Blessed John Paul II, homily at 1979 priestly ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica
As we celebrate the solemnity of the birth of St. John the Baptist, let us pray for the courage to follow the call written in each of our own hearts.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!