Today we pause to reflect on the birth of John the Baptist, which shares significantly in the meaning of Christ’s birth. When June 24 falls on a Sunday, this liturgy replaces that of the standard Sunday in Ordinary Time.
In the breviary, St. Augustine explains the reason for this observance in the following words:
“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.”
*The feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin had not yet been introduced. Continue reading “Jun 24, 2021: Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (ABC)”