John, the Gracious name

Luke 1: 57-66
Mal 3: 1-4,23-24 / Psa 25

… they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.”
(Luke 1:59-60)

Those who put little faith in the Lord
Will have no voice and be put to shame;
But those who believe in His Word
The Lord will glorify his name.

When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, asking him what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1: 57-66)


John the Baptist was the greatest prophet and precursor of our Lord Jesus Christ. His life played an important role in God’s plan of salvation; he was the “bridge” between the Old and the New Testament, being the last prophet of the Old and the first prophet of the New to “prepare the way of the Messiah.” His coming into the world was prophesied by Isaiah: “A voice cries, ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for Yahweh; make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isa.40:3) The prophet Malachi (first reading) also prophesied his coming: “Now I am sending my messenger ahead of me to clear the way…” (Mal.3:1).

St. John remains one of the most influential saints in the liturgical history of the Church. He is remembered every time a child becomes a Christian through the sacrament of Baptism. His famous words, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” constantly remind us of our need for purification, to wash ourselves clean, and be worthy to receive our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Let us make St. John the Baptist the model of our life by pointing others toward Jesus Christ, Who is the only Way to salvation. It would be a great privilege, even if like him we would be a “lone voice crying out in the wilderness.” St. John was never ashamed of his haggard appearance, clothed in camel hair, poorer than a desert rat. He was revered as a prophet of God in his time, and we revere him today as the greatest of all the saints in heaven.

With just two days to go before the birth of our Savior Jesus, let us ask St. John the Baptist to intercede for us in our prayers for peace, love and joy to reign during this period of our Lord’s coming, and that we may be worthy to receive Him in our hearts.

Blessed St. John, most humble and chaste baptizer of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask for your intercession as one of the Lord’s closest relations, in our difficult journey here on earth. Pray to Jesus for us, that God may grant us the grace to persevere in times of trial as you persevered when you were imprisoned; to be humble in all our dealings, as you yourself were humble, living in the desert; and to boldly proclaim the Word of God in our assembly and in our workplaces, as you yourself proclaimed the coming of the Lord without fear or shame. Amen.

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