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. In Elizabeth's house there was a double joy because at last she had a child in her old age and because that child was a son. The passage expresses important aspects of John’s career as a prophet to God’s people and as a light to the nations who was named and sanctified from his mother’s womb. She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her son" (CCC 1172). Antony Kadavil reflects and comments on the readings at Mass for the solemnity of the birth of St. John the Baptist. It was he who prepared Israel to receive their long-awaited Messiah by preaching repentance. He exhorted the people to do penance because the kingdom of God was at hand. So transcendant was the power emanating from the holy man that after hearing him many believed he was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Throughout the year the Paschal Mystery (Christ's work of redemption through His birth, life, passion, death, and resurrection and ascension) is relived, and broken down into the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Ordinary Time. The Gospel describes the joy caused by his birth, and recalls that at the circumcision he did not receive the name of his father, as was customary among the Jews, but the name designated by the angel. The only thing we should do – indeed, the only thing we can do – is simply point to Jesus on the cross. God gives his Servant two commands: 1) gather the Diaspora and bring them back to the land of Israel, and 2) be a light to the nations. St. John is the protector of lovers, so for fun, young country girls in Brazil will roll up scraps of paper, each bearing a name of a single girl and place them into a bowl of water. It celebrates the holy birth of "the greatest of all the prophets," the one who leapt for joy in his mother's womb, who prepared the way for Christ, announced his presence, and baptised him in the Jordan River. He spent his youth in the desert, and at the age of 30 came to Judea and preached near the Jordan. When Jesus heard of this, and knew that some of His disciples had gone to see John, He spoke thus of him: "What went you to see? Tradition has ascribed the hymn to a Paul Warnefried (Paul the Deacon, 730-799). Read the excerpt from the Directory on Popular Piety on the cult of St. John the Baptist.In Brazil, this day is known as Diário de Sáo Joáo (Saint John's Day). The Scriptures tell us of the day when Jesus joined the group of those who wished to receive baptism at John's hands. They are held up to us as examples "who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God's favors" (CCC 1173). Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled this mission. This woman, the dissolute Herodias, was also Herod's niece. The Jews were accustomed to preachers and prophets who gave no thought to outward appearances, and they accepted John at once; the times were troubled, and the people yearned for reassurance and comfort. Such a horrible request shocked and unnerved Herod. On Herod's birthday he gave a feast for the chief men of that region. The reformation of each person's life must be complete—the wheat must be separated from the chaff and the chaff burned "with unquenchable fire. Still, he had given his word and was afraid to break it. He was to be the precursor of the Lord, a mission prefigured by that of Isaias and destined for him by God even before his birth.The Introit tells us that God made John’s “mouth like a sharp sword.” John was uncompromising in his attitude towards sin, condemned fearlessly his incredulous and adulterous generation, and accepted martyrdom rather than flatter or condone the vices of the rich and the mighty.Excerpted from The Cathedral Daily Missal, E. M. Lohmann Company. In the presence of friends and relatives, Zechariah miraculously regains his power speech after declaring in writing, “John is his name.” The name John means “God is gracious The remaining part of the chapter 1 in St. Luke’s gospel records Zechariah’s prophecy of the role his son is to take in the history of salvation. "Apart from the most holy solemnity commemorating our Savior's birth, the Church keeps the birthday of no other person except that of John the Baptist. Circumcision and naming ceremony: When friends and relatives had assembled for the naming ceremony, to their great surprise, Elizabeth said that her son must be called John. "Every tree," he said, "that is not bringing forth good fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire." (Readings on USCCB website). St. John the BaptistWe are given the story of the ministry of John the Baptist, called the Precursor or Forerunner of the Lord, with some variation of detail, in the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as in the Book of John. Herodias stimulated his anger by lies and artifices. It tells us how John the Baptist, in all humility, publicly acknowledged his role as only the Messiah’s herald, whose role was to prepare Israel to receive the Messiah by inviting the people to receive the baptism of repentance. At the feast, Salome, fourteen-year-old daughter of Herodias by her lawful husband, pleased Herod and his guests so much by her dancing that Herod promised on oath to give her anything that it was in his power to give, even though it should amount to half his kingdom. His resentment at length got the better of his judgment and he had John cast into the fortress of Machaerus, near the Dead Sea. He baptized the Savior in the Jordan. John’s birth: Since the birth of a boy was an occasion of great joy among the Jews, Zechariah’ s neighbors and relatives and local musicians gathered at the courtyard to celebrate the occasion. True or not, what makes this song memorable is that the Benedictine monk used this hymn as a pivotal reference for our musical scale. He says that this feast reminds us of John’s prominent role in the history of salvation as the forerunner of the Messiah. The Church honors Mary, Mother of God "with a special love. First reading: Is 49:1-6: 49:1, explained:  Since John was the forerunner of Jesus who prepared Israel for her Messiah, the “Servant” prophecy of Isaiah serves as the first reading. Homily starter anecdote: Be the finger of John the Baptist: Karl Barth, the great 20th century Calvinist theologian, would wake up early in the morning, read the newspaper, and stare at a painting by Grunewald called Crucifixion. He exhorted the people to do penance because the kingdom of God was at hand. John is the protector of lovers, so for fun, young country girls in Brazil will roll up scraps of paper, each bearing a name of a single girl and place them into a bowl of water. "For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. Herod feared and reverenced John, knowing him to be a holy man, and he followed his advice in many matters; but he could not endure having his private life castigated. The reason for this is, of course, that the Lord willed to announce to men His own coming through the Baptist, lest if He appeared suddenly, they would fail to recognize Him. Sundays are the usual means by which this cycle unfolds.At the same time with the Temporal Cycle, the Sanctoral Cycle (from the Latin sanctus which means saint) progresses. "The rite of baptism, a symbolic act signifying sincere repentance as well as a desire to be spiritually cleansed in order to receive the Christ, was so strongly emphasized by John that people began to call him "the baptizer." In the passage, John the Baptist in all humility publicly acknowledged that his role was only that of a herald for the Messiah. News, analysis & spirituality by email, twice-weekly from As mentioned in the prophecy, Jesus' name and office were given to him before he was even born, first to his mother Mary (Luke 1:31-33) and then to his stepfather Joseph (Matthew 1:20-21. In the fifteenth year of the reign of the Roman emperor, Tiberias Caesar, Herod Antipas was the provincial governor or tetrarch of a subdivision of Palestine which included Galilee and Peraea, a district lying east of the Jordan.