Live and Let to Live: The Joy of Having a Baby (The Nativity of John the Baptist)

‘For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you Lord for the wonder of my being, for the wonders of all your creation’ (Ps 139: 13-14).

My dear friends, there is great joy today as we mark the solemnity of the nativity of John the Baptist. Elizabeth was blessed by God with the gift of a baby boy in fulfilment of his promise. And according to the gospel, when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy. They shared her joy because the baby was a blessing, a gift of God. They shared her joy because life is a precious gift of God.

Life is Sacred and Should be Preserved

As the angel had prophesied to Elizabeth and Zachariah, Elizabeth carried her baby for nine months. And that is how all humans started life and we were protected as little as we were from the moment of conception. But in our own time, some people find it difficult to allow conception to take place, grow and be born. We give all sorts of excuses to terminate the pregnancy and the baby. What we have received, we have refused to give to others. If we were aborted, we would not have given joy to families nor be alive today. If we were protected and let to live, we must champion the call to allow others to live and share the life God has given them. This is because life is precious to everyone; it is sacred and should be preserved. It is the gift of God and belongs to him. The joy Elizabeth shared with her neighbours and relations must be allowed to continue. It is our duty to protect, nourish, and support life from its very beginning to natural end as Christians and contemporary disciples of Christ.

His Name is John

The naming ceremony of John also brought joy to the family as Zachariah miraculously received back his power of speech. When his kinsmen wanted to name the baby Zachariah after his father, the mother objected following the circumstances of his birth. His mother wanted him to be called John because the angel had already prophesied that. Hence, the Scripture says: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5). But the kinsmen were eager to consult his father who asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John’ (Lk 1:63). Immediately, the joy of the family was let loose as the power of his speech returned. Zechariah started speaking and praising God and all who heard of it treasured it in their hearts and wondered what the child would turn out to be. And indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him, the little baby started to grow into manhood and eventually became the forerunner of Jesus Christ.

The Mission of John

The second reading from the Acts of the Apostles is very specific about the mission of John. He heralded the coming of Christ and proclaimed the baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. He lived on honey and locust in the wilderness to accomplish his mission of introducing Christ to the world. He was honest in warning the people not to think that he is the messiah and made it clear that he is not even worthy to undo the sandals of the Messiah. He preached the message of salvation to all, while preparing the way for the Messiah and of course showed him when he arrived. We are being called to imitate him and continue to show Christ everywhere with our lives as we celebrate his birthday today.

May his nativity bring us renewed energy to worship Christ and to share his joy everywhere. Amen

Peace with you.

[Readings: Is 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66, 80]

Fr. Cyriacus Uzochukwu

Rev Fr Cyriacus Uzochukwu is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Orlu, a former editor of The Forum Newspaper of the diocese and currently the associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church Exeter, Devon, UK.

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