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All Issues > Volume 19, Issue 4

<< Tuesday, June 24, 2003 >> Birth of St. John the Baptizer
Isaiah 49:1-6
Acts 13:22-26

View Readings
Psalm 139
Luke 1:57-66, 80

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"When Elizabeth's time for delivery arrived, she gave birth to a son." —Luke 1:57

John's birthday celebration today is midway between Jesus' birthdays last and next Christmas. In our culture, when we think of Christmas and birthdays, we think of presents. Today the Lord wishes to give us birthday presents through John the Baptizer, for on his birthday we, rather than he, receive presents.

The first present the Lord gives us today is what John called the "baptism of repentance" (Acts 13:24). This is not a superficial interest in changing a little but a deep, heart-wrenching, burning, life-changing repentance. We are naturally afraid to open this gift, but the Lord insists that we open it before any others.

If we accept God's grace to open this first gift and to be immersed in repentance, then we can open the second gift, marked "baptism in the Spirit" (see Mk 1:8). This gift is the ultimate gift, our Baptisms, and today we are presented with the opportunity to renew our Baptisms. Then, immersed in the Spirit, the fear of the Lord comes upon us (see Lk 1:65), and our tongues are loosed (see Lk 1:64) to freely, boldly, and publicly proclaim that Jesus is Lord (see Rm 10:9).

Without opening these two gifts of two baptisms, we are tongue-tied regarding Jesus and are dumbfounded, that is, found to be dumb, in speaking of Jesus. Because we are created and re-created to be Jesus' witnesses (see Acts 1:8), we must open our presents today or miss the meaning of life.

Open your presents. Make this a happy birthday.

Prayer: Father, make this a day of unforgettable repentance.
Promise: "Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord." —Is 49:4
Praise: St. John the Baptizer's immersion in repentance was so intense, it caused him to live a radical lifestyle and eventually be killed for his love of truth.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 29, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 31, 2002
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 19, Issue 4
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