As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence,* and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. (Matthew 11:7-14)
Today is the feast of the Birth of John the Baptist. Jesus holds up John as one of the greatest in the history of salvation. John was a prophet who not only made the final preparations for the coming of Christ, but he also spoke out with great power against the evils of his own day. John was not afraid to speak out even against those in power who would eventually persecute and kill him.
Because of Pentecost and the decent of the Holy Spirit upon us, we are all called to be prophets. John provides a great model for us to follow. The Spirit calls us and empowers us too to welcome Christ into our world today and to bear witness to Him. The Spirit also empowers us, like John, to speak out against injustice, hatred, prejudice and all kinds of evil that cause suffering to God’s children and God’s creation.
Director of Evangelization
Interesting Catholic Trivia: There are only 3 actually birthdays on the Catholic liturgical calendar, and today, June 24th, the birth of John the Baptist is one of them. The other two are September 8th, the birth of the Blessed Mother, and of course, December 25th, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. All other saints’ days on the calendar are commemorations of the death of the saint.