Extracted from the prophet Isaiah 49:1-6:
Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples.
The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.
He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand.
He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’;
while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’;
and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God.
I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.
And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:
‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’
Extracted from the Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26:
Paul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.”
To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel.
Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:57-66,80:
The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’
They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called.
The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’
And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea.
All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.
It was the Birthday of John the Baptist on 24 June 2013.
Here are the Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day (see above):
1st Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6,
Responsorial: Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15 (see Encouragements-116),
2nd Reading: Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26,
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:57-66, 80.
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II & Pope Benedict XVI based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
HOLY MASS CELEBRATED IN LATIN RITE
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER
Sunday, 24 June 2001
1. "The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name" (Isaiah 49:1).
Today we celebrate the birth of Saint John the Baptist. The words of the Prophet Isaiah are well-suited to describe this great biblical figure who stands between the Old and the New Testaments. In the long line of Israel’s prophets and just men and women, John "the Baptizer" was placed by God’s providence immediately before the Messiah, in order to prepare the way before him by his preaching and by the witness of his life.