We celebrate today one of only 3 birthdays in our church calendar. We rejoice at the birth of Christ in December, of his Blessed Mother in September, and today, in June, we recall the birth of John the Baptist.

John was an “unexpected child.” His parents were long past their prime, already resigned to be a fruitless marriage in their advanced age and physiological incapacity or defects. So, John, though unexpected, became a “miracle child.” He was a surprise to his elderly parents, to their relatives, and to the people around them who heard of the good news.

And what a miracle John would still be as he continued to live under the influence of the Spirit as he grew, as he embraced his ministry, and as he fulfilled his mission. Destined for greatness, he truly attained perfection in life, as also in death. Acquaintance with John however, does not have familiarity, friendship and relationship with John as its goal. We celebrate John, not for his sake, but for the sake of the One he served so well, his cousin and master, Jesus Christ.

The fulfillment of John’s whole life is to be found in his preparatory role in the coming of the Messiah, and in his testimonial role in bearing witness to the true Lamb of God who takes away all sins. The miracle baby did not produce miracles himself. Instead he paved the way and offered his whole life for the author of miracles, Jesus Christ the Lord.

John’s life did not revolve around himself. He viewed himself as responsible for another, greater than he, to whom he must ultimately yield. John was like a parent who struggles hard to prepare her children’s future; like a mentor who hones the skills of someone who will earn the medal; like a servant who makes it easy for his master to accomplish his tasks. The miracle of John, his greatness, is precisely in this humility and willingness to serve and assist the life of another, unmindful of recognition, applause or reward.

While we legitimately aspire for greatness and for personal fulfillment, don’t we sometimes hear God’s call to work under someone, to collaborate rather than spearhead, to give without expecting any return, to sacrifice even our deepest desire so that others may succeed? Herein lies the miracle of service, participation, cooperation and promotion not of selfish interest, but of the good of others. There are many silent and unknown John the Baptists today in our homes, schools, offices, hospitals, convents, parishes and neighborhood.

Like the miracle child that is John, may we be willing to become miracle men and women for others too.