Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Nativity of John the Baptist. I’ve written about John before, as he is one of the figures that occupies a central spot when I visualize the Communion of Saints; he is one of my great insipirations and models. In this month’s issue of Magnificat, Father Peter John Cameron, OP, gives a number of explanations for why we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. Among the ones that most resonate with me are these two:
The nativity of Saint John the Baptist is a sacred reminder of the fact that I need born in my life every day:
* someone who leaps with joy before the presence of the Lord making me want to live my own relationship with Jesus with greater ardor and fervor;…
* someone who models for me that there is no greater joy in my life than for Jesus to increase and for me to decrease, especially as regards my self-reliance, my self-assertion, my self-importance.
John understood and embraced that it was about Christ, not about him. He understood that Christ was central – Christ is the light – and that our job is to point the way to, and reflect, the light. Not to try to be the light, but to point the way to the light. And he modeled that this is not a task we perform out of obligation, but rather, out of an incredible joy at Jesus’ presence with us. It is with that joy that we celebrate John’s birth.