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Liturgical day: June 24th: Birth of John the Baptist

Gospel text (Lk 1,57-66.80): When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her and they rejoiced with her. When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her and they rejoiced with her. When on the eighth day they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, «Not so; he shall be called John». They said to her, «No one in your family has that name»; and they asked the father by means of signs for the name he wanted to give. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote on it, «His name is John», and they were very surprised.

Immediately Zechariah could speak again and his first words were in praise of God. A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the Hills of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it pondered in their minds and wondered, «What will this child be?». For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him. As the child grew up, he was seen to be strong in the Spirit; he lived in the desert till the day when he appeared openly in Israel.

Illustration: Francesc Badia

Today we celebrate the birth of the Baptist. This is exceptional. No wonder! The archangel Gabriel told Zechariah - father of John - that "he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb”. This is why, John – while still inside his mother - jumped with joy when the Virgin Mary - already pregnant of Jesus - arrived at St. Elisabeth’s home. He was not yet born and he was already jumping with joy before Jesus!

"Do you also jump with when you hear about Jesus or Mary?"