Reflecting on John 1: 29-34
In this first post-Christmas week it’s fun to think about the dates the Church has chosen to remember the conception and birth of both Jesus and Mary. The Feast of the Annunciation is March 25th, so of course Jesus is born a perfect nine months later. Mary’s birthday of September 8th is a perfect nine months after her immaculate conception on December 8th. Ah, yes. Isn’t that how all pregnancies end, with a birth just exactly nine months later?
Since the real dates of these events are unknown, the Church used the opportunity to teach certain theologies. One of the loveliest moments in the liturgical calendar is the feast of the birth of John the Baptist, that key New Testament figure whom the Gospel lingers over again today. Since Mary visited Elizabeth when her cousin was six months pregnant and stayed three months until the birth (Luke 1:26-56), that puts the birth of John the Baptist (June 24th) right around the summer solstice. So, as the days begin to decrease the great herald comes into the world―that I may decrease, and he may increase―and as the days begin to increase (December 25th) the Light to the nations is born.
I love it when scripture and the liturgical year kiss.
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).