The Birth of John the Baptist
Luke 1:57-66, 80
Have you ever won the Lottery? In October 1975, someone bought me a Michigan Lottery Ticket for my birthday. Not believing in the Lottery, I threw the ticket away. I remember hearing the news that the unclaimed Lottery ticket for the week of October 11 has expired for claiming the million-dollar prize. Oh, well! Today is the day to claim our Million dollar prize!
In our Gospel, Zechariah and Elizabeth may have felt like Lottery winners as their baby boy is born, and when they name him John, Zechariah regains his speech, and the whole town feels like winners.
John would point the way for Christ to come, which is why in some statues of John, his index finger is longer than his other fingers. An excellent example is at St. Patrick’s in Parnell, as John the Baptist points to the tabernacle.
Our first reading from Isaiah is a million-dollar winner as we hear what could have been said about John. Isaiah says, “You are my servant in whom I will be glorified. I have toiled in vain and have spent all my strength.”
I do not know if I was the winner of the Michigan Lottery back in the day, but I know that when we come to the Eucharist, we are winning a million blessings. Being a child of God and his priest makes me feel like a million-dollar winner every day.
Introduction: Today, we celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist. The Church, in her great wisdom, does not celebrate many birthdays. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, Mary’s birthday, and John’s birth today. Notice how we celebrate this day after the summer equinox when daylight begins to lessen, and we celebrate the birth of Christ six months after the winter equinox when daylight begins to increase. John said, “He must decrease, and He must increase.” May we do the same today!