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Vocation of St. John the Baptist {Nativity] (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic ^ | June 22, 2007 | Fr. Paul Grankauskas

Posted on 06/23/2007 11:22:54 PM PDT by Salvation

Fr. Paul Grankauskas  
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Vocation of St. John the Baptist

June 22, 2007

We might notice something different about this Sunday's Mass. Instead of the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, we have yet another solemnity. Instead of remembering the anniversary of a saint's death, we are celebrating his birth.

During the liturgical year, we celebrate only three birthdays: Our Lord's, Our Lady's and St. John the Baptist's. We might readily understand why we remember the birth of Jesus and Mary, but why do we give attention to the birth of John the Baptist?

The truth is John plays a very important part in the story of salvation history. He serves as the bridge between the Old and New Testaments. Like the great prophets before him, John spoke about the Messiah to come. He, however, lived to see those prophecies fulfilled. He had the privilege of baptizing Our Lord in the Jordan, marking the beginning of Jesus' public ministry and the dawning of the Messianic age. It is John who points to Jesus and identifies him as the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world.

John the Baptist obviously had a big part to play in the mission of the Messiah, but it was not a task he took upon himself only when he had grown to be a big, strapping adult. He was consecrated, or set apart, for the task from the moment of his birth. There are some pretty remarkable similarities between the birth of the Baptist and that of his cousin. John's birth was announced by the Angel Gabriel. His name was given him by the angel, hence Zechariah's insistence that he be called John. Given the extraordinary events surrounding his life and his birth, considering his close link with the mission of the Messiah, it should no longer be a mystery why we celebrate his birth. It was truly a holy and wondrous event.

What might we learn from pondering the birth of the Baptist? What significance might these events have for us? The most obvious would be that we have yet another witness testifying to the truth of Jesus as the Messiah. There is nothing more significant to us than that. However, there is something else we might consider.

 John was given a mission, a vocation, while still a mere babe. It would be many years before he would carry it out. He still would have needed help preparing for it. John would have needed his mother and father to help him learn about the faith of his ancestors, in coming to know of the God of Abraham and his relationship with the people of Israel. He would have needed someone to help him learn his prayers and all that the Scriptures contained. In other words, I imagine Zechariah and Elizabeth had an important part to play in helping their son discern what God was calling him to do.

If we firmly believe that God has a vocation, a plan, for each of our young children, they too are going to need help discerning that. The two most important teachers they will ever have in matters of the faith will be their own moms and dads. If a child is one day being called to marriage, his preparation will begin with what he sees in his own mom and dad. What will he learn from them about being people of prayer? How will he see them express their love and affection for one another? How will he see them communicate with each other? Does he understand that marriage is a vocation, a calling from God and a path to holiness?

If a young man or woman is called to the priesthood or religious life, do they have the encouragement and support of their families? My own knowledge of the faith came partly from my experience in a Catholic elementary school, but especially through my family's very active participation in the worship and life of the Church. That is what truly provided the seedbed for my own vocation, and I am thankful to my mom and dad, God rest his soul, for providing their love and support as I pursued that vocation. We will not overcome the low number of vocations through special programs, but only when parents are willing to give to God their sons and daughters to serve Him in the priesthood and religious life. If God is calling some of our youth to serve Him in a religious vocation, it would be a serious matter for us to stand in His way. If someone expresses a desire to serve Him, how sad it would be if we turned him or her off.

John the Baptist was given a great mission, but I am sure he needed help carrying it out. If we firmly believe God has a vocation for each of our children, we need to help them prepare for it, too.


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; johnthebaptist; nativity
For your information and discussion
1 posted on 06/23/2007 11:22:56 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

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2 posted on 06/23/2007 11:24:00 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

June 24, 2007
Birth of John the Baptist

Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).

John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life.

His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).

John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic.

The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus.

Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.


John challenges us Christians to the fundamental attitude of Christianity—total dependence on the Father, in Christ. Except for the Mother of God, no one had a higher function in the unfolding of salvation. Yet the least in the kingdom, Jesus said, is greater than he, for the pure gift that the Father gives. The attractiveness as well as the austerity of John, his fierce courage in denouncing evil—all stem from his fundamental and total placing of his life within the will of God.


"And this is not something which was only true once, long ago in the past. It is always true, because the repentance which he preached always remains the way into the kingdom which he announced. He is not a figure that we can forget now that Jesus, the true light, has appeared. John is always relevant because he calls for a preparation which all men need to make. Hence every year there are four weeks in the life of the Church in which it listens to the voice of the Baptist. These are the weeks of Advent" (A New Catechism).

3 posted on 06/24/2007 9:45:10 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

Vocation of St. John the Baptist {Nativity] (Catholic Caucus)

The Story of St. John the Baptist - birthday on June 24

Homilies preached by Father Robert Altier on the Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist

Nativity of the Forerunner John the Baptist, June 24

4 posted on 06/24/2007 9:51:29 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Excellent, thanks for posting.

5 posted on 06/24/2007 6:01:31 PM PDT by baa39 (Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.)
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To: baa39

My pleasure.

Do you have any children called to the priesthood or religious life. My son thought he was going to go that way for a long time. He is now married.

6 posted on 06/24/2007 6:09:47 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I don’t have any children, but if I did have a son, I certainly would feel blessed to have him become a priest. At this point, I’m just working (praying) on trying to get the rest of my family reunited with the Church! You know how everyone seems to leave in college, and then takes years or decades to find their way back to the truth...?

7 posted on 06/25/2007 2:33:32 AM PDT by baa39 (Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.)
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