Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – 24 June

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John’s parents were Zachary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was an elderly cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zachary and told him that Elizabeth would have a son, whom he should name John. Zachary doubted the angel, because he and his wife were too old to have children. To show God’s power, the angel told Zachary that he would not be able to speak until everything had happened as the Lord had promised.

Later, Gabriel visited Mary and told her that she would become the mother of the Savior. Gabriel also told Mary that Elizabeth was soon to be a mother. Mary went to visit and help her cousin. Then Elizabeth had her baby. Zachary named him John, as the angel had requested. At that moment, Zachary was able to speak again, and he began praising God.

When the neighbors of Zachary and Elizabeth witnessed this, they began to ask each other, “What will this child become?” They knew that God was calling him to something great. John did have a special calling. He was going to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus.

As a young man, John went into the desert to prepare himself for his mission with silence, prayer and penance. Soon crowds started to come to him. They realized he was a holy man. John warned the people to be sorry for their sins. He told them to change their lives, and he gave them the baptism of repentance. That is why he is called John the Baptist. One day, Jesus himself came to John. He wanted to be baptized with John’s baptism to begin making up for our sins. On that day, John told the crowds that Jesus was the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for. He told them and everyone else to follow Jesus. John said, “Jesus must become more and more important and I must become less and less important.” He said that he was not even worthy to loosen the strap of Jesus’ sandal.

St. John the Baptist was a great prophet. He pointed Jesus out and prepared people to follow Jesus. Let’s listen to St. John’s advice and allow Jesus to become more and more important in our lives.

St. John the Baptist pray for us.