This is the 12th Sunday of the Church’s year but the 24th June is the feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist. Hence, today we celebrate this special memorial of St John the Baptist.
This day is special because, in our Christian tradition, John the Baptist is the last of the great Jewish prophets to predict the coming of the Messiah. His birth, therefore, is particularly significant for us.
It is his “naming” that is most important for we Christians. Everyone expected that he would be named after his father Zechariah who was a Jewish priest. As St Luke’s Gospel relates the story, an angel of the Lord told Zechariah to name his newly-born son “John”. (John means “Chosen one of God”).
At the moment of our Baptism, we too were given a new name. It is generally referred to as our “Christian Name”. Whatever name our parents chose for us at the time of our Baptism, that particular name is embraced by God. We were given our Christian name, not only by our parents, but also by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are named by God and hence, we too became “Chosen ones of God”.
John the Baptist, whose birthday we celebrate today, as a “Chosen one of God”, proclaimed the truth about Jesus by his words and deeds. We too as “Chosen ones of God” are invited to proclaim the truth about Jesus by our words and deeds. And, of course, the truth about Jesus is that He embodies the love of God and the love of every human being.