June 24, The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

The spirit of John the Baptist 

… Elizabeth …gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God … The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel. Lk 1,57-66.80

Today the church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, the man who, in his person, experienced the transition from the Old to the New Testament. John is the prophet by excellence and it would be wrong to relegate him among the figures of the past, because his spirit, as a precursor of Jesus Christ, works still presently in the church. If the Lord is, as it is, one who is perpetually in the church and in our lives, John is the one who continually prepare for his coming. He is not only the forerunner and the preparer of the continuous rise of the Lord, he is also the prophet and the announcer of what is imminent, in the history and in our personal lives. As our sons get married, leave home and form their own home churches, Jesus is thereby the Lord and it is the spirit of John the forerunner and the preparer. Also for us as parents, now that the sons have gone to their road, a new project of life opens which we deliver in the Lord’s hands, and we ask John to plow the ground to prepare it. In this historical moment the spirit of the Baptist is particularly active within the church, where the two opposing forces of the conservatives and of the progressives are facing. The former are discouraged because they feel that the forces of the disintegration are so intense as to make vain every opposition, so it is possible to rely only to the silence and to the prayer. The progressives are disheartened because they believe that the church today is not sufficiently attentive to the calls of the history and of the life and they call for a christianity more embodied in the social reality. Let’s pray John the Baptist for his powerful work in the nowadays church, because this is a moment of deep troubles, but also of great renewal. Let’s hope that this happens in the spirit of the Lord!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *