YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTH OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST
HOMILY THEME: THE LORD CALLED ME IN THE WOMB TO BE THE LIGHT OF THE NATIONS.
BY: Fr. Callistus Emenyonu
READINGS: Isaiah 49: 1-6, Ps. 139, Acts 13: 22-26, Luke 1: 57-66, 80
On every 24th June the Church celebrates the solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist. John the Baptist like Mary also said a fiat in the spirit since all his works showed a convincing “Yes” and conscientious discipleship in the work of salvation and heralding of the mission of Christ. The celebration of John the Baptist is such a solemnity that is immovable and can be celebrated even when it falls on Sunday and so can replace the Day of the Lord on Sunday as it has happened this year. No wonder then Jesus said that among all born of women none is greater than John. He is a man that was divinely planned and arranged miraculously. The first reading addressed his person so well: The Lord called me from the womb; from the body of my mother he named me. He was born at a time that no one expected him and when humanly it was impossible for him to be born. He was the one that was addressed in the “Benedictus”: As for you little child, you shall be called a prophet of God the most High; you shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before him; To make known to his people their salvation through forgiveness of their sins. He had a divine mission and the superfluous of grace to carry it out. He comported himself in accordance with the gift of God in him and the life of grace.
He announced the coming of Jesus and pointed to him when he came. He gathered people for him and gave his own disciples to him since he must increase while he John will decrease. He made the world know that Jesus is the Lamb of God whose mission is to take away the sins of the world. He made the world know the worth of Jesus because as the people feared him and revered him highly as the Saviour, he humbly said that he is not the one and that he is not worthy to undo his sandals strap. Before the birth of any good and true child of God, God has a plan for him and a mission that he and no other must perform. We must know that we are not sent to this world by mistake or without the knowledge of God. We like John the Baptist are in the plan of God with special mission to accomplish for the glory of God and the salvation of others. We have a mission to point to the Light and the true Lamb of God and make people know his ways and gain forgiveness of sins. Our divine calling must be actualized here on earth. Like John the Baptist, we must know that God has made our mouth like a sharp sword and a polished arrow and so he has hidden us in his quiver and in the shadow of his hands and so, we have nothing to fear but to go on faithfully executing the divine task allotted to us as John did even in the face of persecution and death. Be like John and show humility, gentleness, truthfulness and hard work. Tell people who Jesus is, decrease that he may increase in you and through you to the world. May we recognize that God has discerned our purpose from afar and that he knows all our ways through and through for it was he who knit us together in our mothers’ wombs.
May we thank the Lord for the wonders of our being and act accordingly to his glory as lights, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf