There are just three celebrations of birthdays in the liturgical calendar. That of Christ is obvious, and most Catholics would know about the feast of Our Lady’s birth in September. But I wonder how many of us would get the third? On Thursday we celebrate – the nativity of St. John the Baptist. That his is only one of three should alert us to him importance.
The gospel tells us that even in his mother’s womb he leapt at the approach of the Christ child in his mother’s womb. And John’s life can be seen as one long continuation of that desire for Christ. We find him at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, and John’s questions and observations all point to Christ. Jesus builds on the foundations that John has established. The preaching of John prepares the way for the revealing of Jesus. And that is why he is such a good example for the Christian – he points from himself and to Jesus.
We are called to do the same. Our prayers and praise, our charitable actions are all meant to point from us and towards Christ. We do these things not to get the attention for ourselves but for Him.