The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (1 B.C.)

Saint John the Baptist was the miraculous son of Saint Zachary and Saint Elizabeth, given to them when Saint Elizabeth was well beyond the years of childbearing. He was sanctified in his mother’s womb three months before his birth. This was when Our Lady came to Saint Elizabeth’s house at the time of the Visitation, with the Child Jesus in her womb.  Saint John the Baptist is the last of the prophets. The other prophets had foretold what would come, but Saint John the Baptist pointed to Jesus directly, and showed what had come when he declared, “Behold the Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world!” Saint John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus. But he died six months younger than Jesus was when He died. Saint John the Baptist died just one year before Our Lord.  Saint John the Baptist was confined for a year in prison, and then his head was cut off by the wicked Jewish tetrarch, Herod Antipas, at the order of an indecent woman named Herodias. The head of Saint John the Baptist was served on a dish to her and her guests at table by her daughter Salome. When Saint John the Baptist’s head was placed on the table where Herodias was eating, she took a knife and stabbed again and again the tongue which had rebuked her for her viciousness and impurity. Saint John the Baptist was the one who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. The sacrament of Baptism was instituted by Jesus. This is the sacrament of water and the Holy Ghost which is necessary for all for admission to the Catholic Church and for salvation. Saint John the Baptist’s body was destroyed and dispersed under Julian the Apostate, but part of his head has been preserved and is kept in the Church of Saint Sylvester in Capite, in Rome. Saint John the Baptist has two feast days, one for his birth, on June 24, and one to honor his beheading, on August 29. The feast of the father and mother of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Zachary and Saint Elizabeth, is on November 5.

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Tornabuoni Chapel, by Domenico Ghirlandaio and workshop, 1485–1490 (source)

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Tornabuoni Chapel,
by Domenico Ghirlandaio and workshop, 1485–1490 (source)