Today the Church celebrates the solemn feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. I have often wondered why the occasion of his birth was designated a solemnity. The Church celebrates only three birthdays, that of Jesus on December 25, our Blessed Mother on September 8, and today John, June 24.
John told his followers that he must decrease and the One who was to come after him would increase. Father told us at Mass today that after the first day of summer, June 21, the days start to become shorter (the light decreasing) and beginning December 21, the days start to become longer (the light increasing)! The Church is a wonderful Mother and teacher!
John is a great patron of the unborn because the Scripture accounts reveal that he leaped in his mother’s womb when he encountered Jesus in the womb of Mary at the time of her visitation to Elizabeth. John was alive and active and through the power of the Holy Spirit had an awareness that he was in the presence of His Lord.
John is also a great model for the New Evangelization. He went ahead of Jesus and called the Jewish people to repent of their sins and to open their hearts in new ways to God. We are called to be like John, to go to those people we know who do not have a relationship with the Lord or whose relationship is lukewarm or uninformed. We are called to evangelize our brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church, those who have not been properly or adequately catechized. Help them to open their hearts to the Presence of the Lord.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us.