Thought of the day
Friday, June 24, 2016

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist - Solemnity

“He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn 3,30)

The greatest of men was sent to bear witness to Him who was more than a man. For when he who is “from among those born of women the greatest” (Mt 11,11) said: “I am not the Christ” (Jn 1,20) and abased himself before Christ, he gave us to understand that in Christ there is something more than a man... “From his fullness we have all received” (Jn 1,16). What does it mean by “all of us”? It means the patriarchs, prophets and holy apostles, both those who came before the Incarnation and those who have been sent subsequently by the Incarnate Word himself: “of his fullness we have all received.” We are clay pots; he is the spring. Thus..., John is man, Christ is God. Man must be abased that God may be exalted.

It is to teach us to humble ourselves that John was born on the day after which the days begin to grow shorter; to show us that God must be exalted, Jesus Christ was born on the day when the days begin to grow longer. There is a profoundly mysterious teaching at stake here. We celebrate John's nativity as we do Christ's because this particular nativity is full of mystery. What mystery? The mystery of our greatness. Let us grow smaller in ourselves to grow greater in God. Let us humble ourselves in our lowliness to be exalted in his greatness.

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo
Sermon 289, 3rd for the Nativity of John the Baptist