The Birth of John the Baptizer
Fourth Sunday of Announcement
The Church does not usually celebrate the earthly birthdays of the saints, but rather their birthdays in heaven, namely the day of their deaths when they obtain their crown of glory. However, in the case of John the Baptist, we celebrate his earthly birth-his coming into the world to announce the Son.
John’s coming was filled with marvels. The angel announced his birth. Because of his doubt Zechariah was struck dumb. John leaped with joy in the womb of his mother when visited by the Virgin. He was sanctified at that time by the Holy Spirit. As soon as John was born, Zechariah was able to speak and sing the beautiful song of “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,” a hymn the Church continues to sing even today.
The angel predicted that many would rejoice at John’s birth and that he would be great in the sight of God, and holy, ascetic, and just before the people. He will bring many back to God. He will be the Forerunner of the Savior and return the hearts of parents to their children, and the unbelievers to the wisdom of the just. He will prepare for God a holy people.
Some months before the Lord began his preaching ministry, John came out of his solitude and appeared near the Jordan River, as the Forerunner of the Lord predicted by the prophets. He impressed the crowds by his poverty, austerity of life, severity of preaching and the practicality of his exhortations. His ministry was quite successful. Many people came to him to receive his baptism and confess their faults as he announced the imminence of the messianic kingdom. He was so humble that he declared himself unworthy to untie the sandals of the Lord. “I have baptized you in water; he will baptize you the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8)He will separate the sinners from the just.
When Jesus came to be baptized, John wanted to withdraw, saying that it was he who should be baptized by the Lord, but Jesus insisted. John said, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” and told his disciples to follow Jesus. When the disciples complained that Jesus was becoming more and more popular, John said, “He must increase and I must decrease.” He reproached Herod for his scandalous conduct and was put in jail. In prison he sent his disciples to Jesus. He wanted them to follow him and to let Jesus declare himself as the Savior predicted by Isaiah. John was praised as superior to all the faithful of the Old Testament.
Beginning Monday December 15th, the Christmas novena will be prayed at St. Raymond’s every evening at 7:00 PM including Saturday December 20th and Sunday December 21 and will end Tuesday December 23rd. This is a good way to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of Our Savior. Please make every effort to attend and bring a friend or family member.
The hall will be closed Wednesday, December 24th and Wednesday, December 31st for the Christmas Season. We will reopen Wednesday, January 7, 2015.
LET’S GO BLUES! The Saint Raymond’s Men’s Society is having a night out at the Blues game. The game is on Thursday January 8th at 7 pm against the San Jose Sharks. Tickets are $27.00. Please consider bringing your sons or grandchildren and/or a friend to the game. We will meet at Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar located at 1017 Russell Blvd at 5:01 sharp for dinner and drinks and they will shuttle us to the game and back. Please contact Scott Elking at (314)267-3002 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tickets.
The Men’s Society Christmas party will be held Thursday, December 11th at 6:30 pm in the Lebanon room. All men are invited to attend.