God selected St. John the Baptist for a special mission even before he was born. The angel Gabriel appeared to his father Zechariah to foretell the birth of this very special child. Scripture tells us that John was blessed by the Holy Spirit before his birth. When Elizabeth pregnant with John, is greeted by her cousin Mary, pregnant with the Son of God, Elizabeth’s child “leaped in her womb for joy”.
Throughout his life John remained in this holy state. He dedicated himself to the task given to him by God. John was the last of a long line of Prophets sent to prepare the people for the coming of their Saviour, Jesus Christ. His message was clear, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand”.
The church highlights the life and mission of St. John the Baptist at Advent each year. We are reminded to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. We do not prepare for his human birth since he lived, died and returned to heaven long ago. Instead, we prepare to meet him face to face whether that will be at his glorious return to earth or at our own death.
The man whom Jesus called “greatest among men” is certainly worthy of our study and reflection. John’s message to “turn to God and away from sin” is as meaningful to people today as it was to those living 2000 years ago. God has also selected us to be messengers. Our special mission is to share the Good News of Jesus’ love with the world. John listened to the call of God spoken in his heart. We listen, too. The voice of God reverberates through the words of Scripture, “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and to the ends of the earth. “
Where to Learn More:
The website www.newadvent.org had a lot of fabulous information about St. John the Baptist. Previously called “Catholic Encyclopaedia” this site is positively bursting with information about every aspect of our faith.