Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (2012)


As a rule, the church celebrates the feast of a saint once a year, on the anniversary of the saint’s death, however in the case of John the Baptist we celebrate his death as well as his birth. Why? Well, this is the church’s way of saying that he is someone really important, and he is important for his finger. Yup![1] That's right, his finger. Because of all the things that John the Baptist did, the most important was what he did with his finger: he pointed to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We use our finger too, but most of the time we don't point to Jesus: we point at each other[2], and also most of the time when we point the finger at someone is to blame him or her, perhaps to escape of our own responsibility… since the very beginning is the same Adam pointed his finger at Eve, and even at God Himself: The woman YOU gave me made me eat the fruit[3], then the woman pointed her finger at the serpent... and ever since that day we use our fingers to identify the responsible of our faults...

So, for a world full of such finger-pointing people come the finger of John the Baptist, pointing not to the sins of others but to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world[4].

So, this Sunday is a good opportunity to repent of our own finger-pointing and to begin to learn on how to use our fingers for good, let use them for pointing others to Christ, not for pointing out the sins of other.

Husbands and wives: instead of pointing out what's wrong with each other, point one another to your rings and vows and the grace of God which has bound you together.

Parents: as your kids grow, point them to the Sacraments.

My brother, my sister: if we have to use our fingers that would be to point one another to Christ and to His grace and to His forgiveness[5].

Today we remember the birth of St. John the Baptist, we celebrate that he was the one born into this world to identify the Christ for us. John the Baptist points to Jesus. And by pointing to Jesus, John has identified for us the one Source of all of our hope and comfort and peace and life and joy. John brings God's people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of our sins. That is salvation: the forgiveness of sins.

Praise to be God for the birth of St. John the Baptist! Praise God for St. John's finger, for it points us to our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who has taken away our sins. Happy Nativity of St. John the Baptist Day! Amen ■


[1] An informal word for yes. 
[2] Sunday 24th June, 2012, Birthday of John the Baptist. Readings: Isaiah 49:1-6. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made—Ps 138(139):1-3, 13-15. Acts 13:22-26. Luke 1:57-66, 80.
[3] Gen 3:12
[4] Jn 1:29
[5] For writing this homily was inspired by a text of Rev. Mark Buetow, pastor of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Du Quoin, Illinois. No doubt: the Spirit blows where it wants.
Ilustration: Matthias GrünewaldIsenheim Altarpiece (1506-1515), Unterlinden Museum at ColmarAlsace (France). 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris