The Birth of John the Baptist

John the Baptist Prophet of the Most High

Because of his major role in salvation history, John the Baptist’s birth is one of only three celebrated by the Catholic Church. The others are Jesus Christ (December 25) and the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8).

John the Baptist is the hinge that connects the Old Testament to the New Testament. He is the last of the prophets to announce the coming of the Messiah.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were advanced in age and unable to conceive, but the Angel of the Lord announced that they would have a child and name him John. At the child’s circumcision Zechariah gave him the name that the angel had revealed and declared John’s mission by singing a canticle of praise.

Scripture tells us that Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant with John when Jesus was conceived so his birth is set six months before the birth of Jesus.

The Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24 unless a feast of the Lord falls on the same day.

The one who prepared the way:

The beginning of a New Covenant:

“And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Luke 1: 76-80

Preparing the way for the Light of Christ:

Prepared for something special:

And now that the event comes to pass, now that Elizabeth and Zechariah experience that “with God nothing will be impossible”, their joy is great. Today’s Gospel reading announces the birth and then pauses on the moment of the bestowal of the child’s name. Elizabeth chooses a name that is foreign to her family’s tradition and says: “he shall be called John”: a freely given and, by then, an unexpected gift, because John means “God has given grace”. And this child will be a herald, a witness to God’s grace for the poor who, with humble faith, await his salvation. Zechariah unexpectedly confirms the choice of that name by writing it on a tablet — because he was mute —, and “immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God”.

Pope Francis, Angelus, 24 June 2018

He leaped in his Elizabeth’s womb in Jesus’ presence:

Aware of the presence of Jesus:

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 717

Unique among the saints:

A life totally directed toward Jesus:

John may have been born without Original Sin:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Allowing God to work in your life on pilgrimage:

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