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10 minutes with Jesus. Today: The birthday of Jesus’s cousin

by 10 Minutes with Jesus

10 minutes wih Jesus are group of Catholic priests who share friendship with Jesus, plus keenness to help young people of all ages to learn the art of loving Jesus and speaking to Him. You can find them in WhatsApp, Spotify, Ivoox, Telegram, Goggle Podcasts and Apple Podcast. Every saturday, we are going to share one meditation by 10 minutes with Jesus. Enjoy it.

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me and that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence. I ask your pardon for my sins, for the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful by Immaculate Mother. St. Joseph, my father and Lord, my Guardian Angel intercede for me.

Jesus´s cousin

This week the Church celebrates the birthday of Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the son, of course, of Saint Elizabeth and Zachariah, her husband, and Elizabeth was the cousin of our Lady, our Mother Mary, Jesus’s mother. And it’s interesting, when we consider the Church’s liturgy, that there are only three birthdays of saints celebrated as liturgical feast days, and those are: Christmas of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; September 8th when we celebrate the birth of Mary, his mother, and today, June 24th, will we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist.

Ask yourself why

And you can ask yourself why. In this time of prayer and in our Lord’s presence, why do we only celebrate three birthdays of saints liturgically in the church, what did they have in common. Well, when we reflect on their births and the people who were born in those days, we see that they have one thing in common: that they are all born in the state of grace, that you, Lord, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. He’s true God and true man, perfectly innocent, and so He’s born sanctified. There’s no original sin in our Lord, and of course He granted to his mother that wonderful privilege of the Immaculate Conception, that of all the children born of Adam and Eve she was the one exception to be conceived without original sin; not to have that disunion with God, not to have that separation from God passed on to her from her parents at the moment of her conception, and so she too was born without original sin.

John the Baptis?

And what about John the Baptist? Why do we celebrate his birthday? Well, the scripture tells us that when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, just after saying yes, that wonderful yes to her vocation, that Fiat, be it done onto me according to your word; when she went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth says the child leaped in my womb, and the Holies and sacred scripture says that she was filled with the Holy Spirit, and at the sound of Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And so that is an indication that John the Baptist, in that moment, is responding to grace, responding to the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, the saving presence of You, Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And so in that moment, he too is sanctified; he too is freed from original sin, receiving grace, the grace of baptism in the womb. And so when he is born, just like with our Lord and our Lady, we can celebrate his birthday liturgically, and we can ask our Lord in this time of prayer: Lord, give me sensitivity to your presence, sensitivity to the presence of grace in my life just like John the Baptist while he was still in the womb was sensitive to your presence, sensitive to your grace, and left in the womb of his mother once he sensed that you were there. I too want to be sensitive to your grace. I want to respond to it. I want to be very reactive to your presence in my life, to pick up on your presence wherever it is: in the Blessed Sacrament, in my soul, in the state of grace, and everyone in my life, all those others who are also your children are also called to be their children in the Church.

Zachariah´s son

In the Gospel, Zechariah is told precisely this about his son, his son John who will be born he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn their hearts toward their children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous.  I prepare people fit for the Lord. Wonderful description of the privilege that Saint John the Baptist has. He’s filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and so St. John the Baptist has kind of a spiritual radar to pick up on that grace being offered to him by the presence of Christ. We might even call it a spiritual sonar because he’s still in that amniotic fluid there in his mother’s womb. He picks up the grace even through her body and through her womb. And so we do want to develop a great spiritual radar, a great spiritual sonar to be sensitive to the motions of grace in our life. And it’s a great question to ask our Lord: Lord, where is your grace for me today? What are you inviting me to do today? What are you asking of me? How are you asking me to trust you more? How are you asking me to love you more? How are you asking me to be more generous, more faithful in my Christian vocation?

A wonderful scene

When John the Baptist is born, on the day of his birth, there’s a wonderful scene. Zechariah has been mute because he doubted the message of the angel. You remember the story, the angel tells him that his wife Elizabeth, who’s old and apparently incapable of conceiving and bearing children, will indeed conceive and be a mother, and Zachariah doubts it: How can this be since I’m an old man. And when John the Baptist is born, Zechariah is still mute, and the day of John’s circumcision comes a few days after his birth – eight days after his birth, and Elizabeth insists he will be called John. They wanted to name him Zechariah naming him after his father, but she says he will be called John because that’s what the angel said he should be called. They answered her: There is no one among your relatives who has this name, right? Why are you calling him John? So they made signs asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote John is his name. And all were amazed. Immediately, his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart saying: What then will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

What then will this child be?

What a great question: What then will this child be? But they wonder. They wonder at the miraculous nature of his conception, of his birth, of his naming, that the father’s tongue is freed once he says John is his name by writing it down on that tablet. And we too, many of us, from a very young age before we can remember, or baptized as infants, and the hand of the Lord that was on John the Baptist from the womb is also on us. And so we too can wonder about our own lives. What then will this child be? What can I be Lord if I respond fully to my Christian vocation? What can I be Lord if I gain and foster a greater sensitivity to your grace? And the answer, of course, is that you can be a saint, that you and I can be other Christ. We go to Our Lady, and we ask her for this sensitivity and her response to God’s will: be it done unto me according to your word.

It´s the end

I thank you, my God, for the good resolutions, affections, and inspirations, which you have communicated to me in this meditation. I ask your help to put them into effect. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my Father and Lord, my guardian angel intercede for me.

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