June 23, 2017

Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

The Birth of St. John the Baptist

June 24, 2017

Ordinarily the Church observes the day of a saint's death as his feast because that day marks his entrance into heaven. To this rule there are two notable exceptions, the birthdays of the Blessed Virgin and of Saint John the Baptist.

The Gospel of Luke relays how Saint John the Baptist’s birth was foretold by the angel Gabriel to his father Zechariah as he offered incense in the Temple. Even before his birth John would be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the womb of his mother Elizabeth John recognized the presence of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by leaping for joy. His mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah and to urge the disobedient back to the path of righteous. John’s witness would bring innumerable souls to Christ.

On the day of Christ's baptism, John immediately recognized Jesus as the long awaited Anointed One heralded by the prophets, and spoke the words Catholic’s hear at every Mass during the Consecration, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) As Jesus rose from the water, the Spirit of God descended like a dove, alighting upon the head of Our Lord, as a voice from heaven declared, “This is my Son, with whom I am pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your family may walk in the way of salvation and, attentive to what Saint John the Precursor urged, may come safely to the One he foretold, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

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