This year, June 24th, the Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist occurs on a Sunday. And once again God reminds us that His way is the best way. Elizabeth and Zechariah (Saint John’s parents) learned this quickly as the time came to name their child (Luke 1:57-66, 80). Among the Jews, it was customary to give first-born boys names that would link them to their ancestors, particularly through their father’s name. But Elizabeth and Zechariah chose the name “John,” which was foreign to their family. Why? Because God told them to do so – through His angel’s message to Elizabeth and Zechariah. They obeyed God’s will even though it was not easy. They did not cave in to social pressures. It certainly was not the most comfortable and acceptable thing to do as they became vulnerable to gossips and upset some of their neighbors.
Saint Elizabeth and Saint Zechariah did what God wanted them to do – and at least two wonderful things happened as a result: (1) Zechariah miraculously recovered his speech, which he had lost when he doubted the angel’s message nine months before, and he began to praise God; (2) people in the whole region began to talk more about God. Elizabeth’s and Zechariah’s faithfulness to the will of God had a good effect on them and on the people around them.
Their son, John the Baptist, also obeyed God and never hesitated to announce the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world (even from the womb, He leapt for joy at the presence of Jesus & Jesus’ mother, Mary, at the Visitation). He witnessed to the Truth, with love, defending the marriage bond that was disrespected by Herod & Herodias; defending the Truth to the point of giving his life for the Faith, because of his love for God. As God made His will known, Saint John and his parents sought to do His will.
The same is to be true for us. Whenever God makes His will known to us, He does so for a reason and certainly wants us to do His will. And He reveals His will in various ways, including: through the natural law (the Ten Commandments, summed up in the Two Great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor); through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition; through our conscience that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit forms and informs through His Church’s teaching; through our prayer and the strong interior inspirations of the Holy Spirit; through the example and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint John the Baptist and all the saints; and sometimes through our interactions with people we encounter. Our obedience to God’s will is key and draws us closer to God personally (and therefore to His love, His joy and everlasting happiness), and it causes a “domino effect” of grace and blessing to those around us. Trusting obedience to Jesus Christ and His Church is always the best way because it is God’s way. Indeed, God’s way, even when it requires self-sacrifice, is definitely the best way, for Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, yesterday, today and forever (John 14:1-6). May He bring us all to Eternal Life in Heaven.
With peace and prayers in Christ,