June 24, 2011

Birthday of the Baptist

Birthday of St. John the Baptist today. It's the only birthday the Church celebrates other than Jesus's and Mary's I think. I tend to underestimate this prophet and saint and think of his role as somehow extraneous or at least so completely overshadowed by Christ's that he sort of falls in with St. Joseph, for me at least. He's not known for great miracles, though he likely performed many given the crowds that followed him, and he's known for baptizing with humble water rather than with the Holy Spirit.

When I think of great saints of the Old Covenant, I think of Moses or Elijah, but John was greater than "any man born of woman." That's pretty definitive, and perhaps greater trust in Jesus will open my eyes that holiness is not synonymous with practicality or effectiveness but with following the will of God. And John the Baptist did that from his mother's womb onward. It's certainly my ignorance that seems to want to slough off John's ministry as extraneous when Jesus himself gave him that role, the role of pointing to the Christ.

I'm glad the Church has this solemnity, and for the reminder that the standard by which we measure is Christ's.

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