Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66, 80
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works. (Psalm 139:13-14)
King David sang with lyre and harp the mystery of his origins. Like a loving mother, God stitched him with needle and thread in his mother’s womb.
The prophet Isaiah received his name and mission “from my mother’s womb” to be “a light to the nations.”
John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb… to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:15, 79).
The greatest of the prophets—the “Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14)—Zechariah’s son was the first to be sanctified in the womb by the Holy Spirit, marking a turning point in salvation history. The Spirit who hovered over the waters at creation, inspired David’s psalms, and spoke through the prophets, anointed the Forerunner of the Son of God in Elizabeth’s womb.
At six months of age, before his body was fully formed, John’s spirit was whole and awake before reason or the senses knew the light of day. At the voice of Mary, John “leaped” in his mother’s womb “and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).
Mary, full of grace and the Holy Spirit, was immaculately conceived in her mother’s womb in preparation for her role as the Mother of God.
The Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was neither sanctified in the womb nor immaculately conceived, but beyond conception itself, though language must grasp at the graspable to express his beginningless beginning. The only-begotten Son of the Father was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s immaculate womb, uniting in his Person divinity and humanity, heaven and earth.
The new Eve, the new Adam, and the new Elijah closed the Old Testament and opened the New. The Holy Spirit, who was known only vaguely in the Old Covenant took center stage in the Acts of the Apostles after Pentecost. From womb to womb down the centuries, the Spirit of truth has led us back to the Eternal Womb of the Father from whom all persons originate.
The spirit longs to soar beyond history to the eternal principle from which everything originates. Beyond the Story (history), beyond time and eternity, beyond the beyond…