Nativity of John the Baptist

John the Baptist is the prophet who proclaimed the arrival of Jesus Christ – Israel’s Messiah. The scripture stories concerning John’s parents highlight how they led lives of enormous faith. John’s mother Elizabeth was visited by her kinswoman Mary. Zechariah, John’s father was a devout temple priest who was visited by the angel Gabriel but doubted the truth of the message. The Benedictus prayer speaks of the prophecy. (Luke 1:68-79)

The birth of John the Baptist is a solemnity celebrated by the Church because his life had a single holy purpose – to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah through repentance, challenging people to lead truthful and faithful lives.

And you, child, shall be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by forgiveness of their sins, by the heartfelt mercy of God…’ Luke 1:76-77 

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Readings of the day

Isaiah 49:1-6  

I shall be honoured in the Lord’s eyes and my God has been my strength…I shall make you a light to the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’ Is 49:6

Acts 13:22-26

 “Who do you think I am? I am not he. Look! One is coming after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to undo.” Acts 13:25

Luke 1:57-66, 80

The time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son; and her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had lavished his mercy on her, and they shared her joy. Lk1:57

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Listen in stillness

Ut queant laxis is a medieval Latin chant hymn from 11th century for the feast of St John the Baptist.

Beautifully intoned by Donna Stewart, use these 4 minutes to reflect on the role of John the Baptist in preparing people for Jesus' ministry.

Listen to Ut queant laxis  HERE