Pastors Desk: The Nativity of John the Baptist / B

Posted 23rd June 2018 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 24th June 2018 - The Nativity of John the Baptist/B
nativity-of-john-the-baptist1The Feast of the Birth or Nativity of John the Baptist is one of the oldest on the church calendar. In fact, in medieval times it was one of the biggest feasts of the year, with three masses being offered, one at midnight and two others during the day. All over Europe it was common to see bonfires on hills and mountaintops on the eve of the feast. They were often referred to as St. John’s Eve fires and kept lighting until after midnight.

Traditionally the feast is held on June 24th which is three months after the feast of the Annunciation and six months before the celebration of the Lord’s birth at Christmas. It also served to replace the seemingly immoral pagan feast of the Summer solstice celebrated around the same date.

The reason we celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist today and not the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time is because of John’s prominent role as the forerunner of the messiah. He prepared Israel for the arrival of their long-awaited messiah by preaching repentance for their sins.

John is an inspiration to us all. He warned people that they needed to take stock of their lives, recognise their sinful ways, their faults and failings, and so change their ways. We need to have the courage and convictions that John the Baptist had and become the modern-day heralds or messengers in the various situations of life and turn people toward the Lord of love by what we say and do in our daily living.

May his life and message inspire us to greater holiness.

Fr Gerry