June 24, 2018 — Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (the Feast Day of the birth of John the Baptist). To say John the Baptist and Jesus were closely related and connected is an understatement.
Both were foretold by prophets, especially Isaiah. The only record of the birth of John the Baptist appears in the Gospel of Luke and it is at the heart of our Gospel Reading today. A key player in this event is, of course, John the Baptist’s father Zechariah. Zechariah was a Jewish priest, but when the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him that he would father a child, Zechariah refused to believe it. As a result he was rendered speechless until John was born.
Zechariah had total trust in the Lord, however. Although it was traditional at that time to name the first son after the father, he and Elizabeth had been told that they were to name him John. As reported in the Gospel, Elizabeth said “He will be called John.” The family protested at which time Zechariah wrote “His name is John.” When he did that, Zechariah could speak once more. He did not say “should be”; he said “is.”
The trust shown by Zechariah is an example to us that we must trust in God, not just when it is convenient, but all the time. Those of advanced generations know who Lawrence Welk was. Born and raised Catholic, Welk practiced his faith throughout his life. He once said, “Never trust anyone completely but God. Love people, but put your full trust only in God.”