Commentary of the Day

“The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.” (Isa 49:1)
by Origen (c.185-253), priest and theologian

The birth of John the Baptist is full of miracles. An archangel announced the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus; similarly, an archangel announced the birth of John (Lk 1:13) and said: “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.” The Jewish people did not see that our Lord did “signs and wonders” and healed their illnesses, but John leapt for joy when he was still in his mother’s womb. It was impossible to hold him back, and when the mother of Jesus arrived, the child already tried to come out of Elizabeth’s womb. “The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby leapt in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44) Still in his mother’s womb, John had already received the Holy Spirit (…)

Scripture then says: “Many of the sons of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.” (Lk 1:16) John brought back “a large number”; the Lord brought back not a large number but everyone. For it is his task to bring all men back to God the Father (…)

I, for my part, think that the mystery of John is being fulfilled in the world until the present. The spirit and the power of John must first fill the soul of whoever is destined to believe in Christ Jesus, “to prepare for the Lord a people well-disposed” (Lk 1:17) and to “make ready the way of the Lord, [to] clear him a straight path” (Lk 3:5) in the roughness of their hearts. Not only at that time were “the winding paths (…) made straight and the rough ways smooth”; rather, the spirit and the power of John still go before the Lord and Savior’s coming today. Oh greatness of the Lord’s mystery and of his plan for the world!

From: Homilies on St. Luke, no. 4, 4-6