Isaiah 49:1-6, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66,80
In Jeremiah 1:5, God says to Jeremiah ‘before I formed you in the womb, I know you, I have set you apart before you were born, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
This word echoes as we celebrate the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. I once wrote a reflection on this last year. You can read it here.
The nativity of Saint John the Baptist was foretold by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:11-17. Angel Gabriel says this of Saint John the Baptist, “He will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God, With the Spirit and power of Elijah, He will go before Him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the upright way, preparing for the Lord, a people fit for Him”.
This captures the mission of John the Baptist; to make the way for the Lord. Luke records that John fulfilled this when he was going through the Hills of the whole Jordan proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3) and was baptising the people, preparing them for the coming of the Lord.
The nativity of Saint John the Baptist is for a mission and he goes about accomplishing this mission when he is on earth. In the same way, everyone is born for a purpose. There is a reason by which you were born.
There is Great Work Awaiting You.
Before the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist that is before John was formed in the womb, God knows the reason He formed him.
In the same way, God forms you for a reason. You came into the world for a purpose. This purpose like it was prophesied in the time of John the Baptist must be a way to bring salvation and help to humanity.
So, the question we have to ask ourselves today is “what is my purpose on earth? What is the reason God sends me into this world? Truthfully, you are not in this world to be an onlooker.
You were born for a mission; to bring peace to families, to homes and the world, for solace, and encouragement to the poor, to be a light to the sick, to the downtrodden, to teach people the way, to heal, to save lives etc. What is your mission? Always know that there is great work that is awaiting you.
Follow God’s Instructions.
In today’s gospel, the people intended to give John the name of His Father Zechariah but Elizabeth kept the instruction from the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:13 that His name will be called John.
Here, Elizabeth teaches us to choose God’s will in everything that we do and not our own will. Through this, we can achieve our purpose on earth. Only God knows the reason you are here. Always work according to His guidance and inspiration.
Elizabeth did not choose a name she likes, she maintained the name the angel gave to her. Always maintain whatever is God’s will in your life. He knows where He is leading to you.
Do not try to seek diabolical powers or people who can make it fast. The end is always dangerous. Follow God’s instructions.
Secondly, Elizabeth did not choose a name based on people’s opinions and suggestions. She did not dance to the tune of the crowd but she followed God’s instructions.
Therefore, the nativity of Saint John the Baptist also teaches us that if you want to achieve your purpose, avoid following the crowd, do not dance to the tune of what people say about you.
What God says about you is the most important. Also do not allow people to mislead you from what God has kept for you. Always remain focused. When you follow God’s instructions, you will achieve your purpose on earth.
His Name Is John.
The name John in Hebrew is “The Lord is gracious”. Hence John’s birth was an act of God’s kindness and grace to the family of Elizabeth and Zechariah who has waited for years to expect a child.
Even the people who were rejoicing with the family today came because they heard that the Lord has shown His kindness and graciousness to the family.
Hence Johns birth brought joy to the family, to the people who were rejoicing, to the Israelite nation and the world. He wasn’t born for himself, he was born to lead others to the light and to bring joy to all people.
Therefore, the birth of John the Baptist teaches us that we are in this world for a mission to bring joy not only to ourselves but to our families, our homes, the people around us and the world.
The mission by which you were born is not for you alone. God did not send us into the world to be selfish. He sends us to work for Him in bringing joy to the world.
Therefore whatever you do, wherever you serve, know that what you are doing in the first place is not for self-gain but for God and the salvation of those who come to you.
This is why Jesus tells His apostles in Matthew 23:11 that the greatest among you, must be the one who is willing to serve. We must be ready to serve to fulfill our purpose on earth.
Therefore to know your mission, begin to serve God and the world with what you have, for the salvation of souls, defending the faith, bringing souls back to God, making people happy and working to better the lives of others. We have to know that every business on earth was established to serve others and not for yourself.
Secondly, at the mention of the name John, Zechariah’s mouth opened and he began to speak and praise God. Therefore the birth of John brings not just joy but a miracle in the life of Zechariah.
God was indeed gracious to them as the name implies. This tells us that we are born to bring a miracle to the life of others.
You are not born to kidnap, kill and bring pain to the life of people. The reason you were born is for good and not for bad. Psalm 127:3 says that every child is a gift from the Lord. This is the reason, it is an abomination to abort a baby.
When you abort a child, you terminate the purpose the child comes to accomplish. That child can be your breadwinner tomorrow.
Thirdly the name John and what happened at the time of His birth, also shows that there is something in a name. When a name is given to you, we may think, it was given by accident. The name you bear has a message for you. Always think about that.
God has Not forsaken You.
Finally, The nativity of Saint John the Baptist is a reminder to all of us, to never give up on God. If He can answer the prayers of this family, He can answer our prayers. The nativity of Saint John the Baptist gives us hope that God can still surprise anyone at any time.
Once you are still alive, all hope is not lost. When the situations seem to be hard, He can still show up. His kindness has not diminished.
The birth of John to these aged parents who in their human reasoning even thought that it can never happen is a sign that God is a specialist in impossible cases. Even Zechariah doubted in Luke 1:18-19, but the solemnity today teaches us that with God all things are possible.
So, let us not lose hope in God but continue to work for Him until we accomplish our purpose on earth.
May God through the grace of this solemnity, come to your help and vanquish every impossibility in your life. Amen.