The Nativity of John the Baptist
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist – St. Luke tells us in his Gospel that John was conceived in a miraculous manner and that his parents were Zachariah and Elizabeth. He spent his youth in the desert, and at the age of 30 came to Judea and preached near the Jordan. He exhorted the people to do penance because the kingdom of God was at hand. He baptized the Savior in the Jordan. He rebuked Herod Antipas for taking to himself Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip; at the request of the dancing daughter of Herodias he was imprisoned and beheaded.
“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. In the case of other saints or of God’s chosen ones, the Church, as you know, solemnizes the day on which they were reborn to everlasting beatitude after ending the trials of this life and gloriously triumphing over the world. For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. But for John the day of his birth, the day on which he began this mortal life is likewise sacred. 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. John represented the Old Covenant and the Law. Therefore he preceded the Redeemer, even as the Law preceded and heralded the new dispensation of grace.” ~St. Augustine of Hippo