YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTH OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
HOMILY THEME: THE SPECIAL MISSION
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
In the day’s Gospel we have the account of the birth of John the Baptist. It was a birth filled with mystery and unusual details like: Elizabeth, his mother was late in age and barren, his father chose a name out of tradition, Mary came to visit him with Jesus in her womb which caused him to leap with joy, and Zechariah, his father, was punished for doubting and questioning the command of God through a dream. When a birth is full of these unusual events, the one to be born has a special mission. In this case, John was the precursor. He was to pave the way for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.
Repentance, through baptism, was the preparation John was to make when Jesus comes. Jesus was to bring forgiveness and salvation. When they both met, Jesus asked to be baptized not because He needed repentance but to be fully united with humanity. By allowing Himself to be baptized, He expressed perfect compassion. Jesus humbled John. John responded with full humility. He knew his role. He knew he was not the Messiah even if the people were treating him as the one. He pointed to Jesus just like any prophet was meant to do. “He must increase. I must decrease,” he said.
St. John is the best example, after Jesus, for service. The temptation is to take the credit for the graces received through us. "Everything is grace," said St. Therese of the Child Jesus. There is nothing we can really and truly call our own. Our lives, which generates everything we own comes from God. Thus, we must always adopt the position of humility.
St. John, according to the accounts, suffered what we may call a cheap death. His head was asked by a girl whose dance fascinated King Herod. Herodias, the king’s mistress but the wife of his brother, told the child to ask for John’s head. It was Herodias’ opportunity to take revenge at John who was exposing their immoral relationship. John may have been a victim of a freak request but he fulfilled his mission. The value of one’s life is not determined only by the way he died but more of the way he lived. Let us live our lives fully. We cannot choose the way we will die. But we can choose the way we will live.