On this day, the Church in her wisdom commemorates the birth of St. John the Baptist. He is one of only three whose births the liturgy celebrates; the others are Jesus and Mary. And the reason we celebrate their births is that these three are the only ones since Adam and Eve’s transgression to be born free from original sin. All of us are born in sin, and few indeed preserve their baptismal purity. This truth is one of many depicted in the life and death of St. John the Baptist; truths which have become unwelcome in this new Bergoglian Church.
In recalling to us St. John’s birth, the Church implicitly emphasises original sin and baptism.
- John was freed from original sin in his mother’s womb by Jesus, before either were born, through the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was the first miracle worked by our Lord Jesus Christ and was performed through the mediation of His Immaculate Mother.
- Scripture tells us that John baptised in penance, thus we are called to consider the necessity of repentance and the need for baptism to free each of us from original sin.
Regarding St. John’s life and death, in Matthew we read this description:
John had his garment of camels’ hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey. And his words: “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. …And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: “Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance …For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but He that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Now what are we told of his end? Again, Matthew tells us:
“For Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias, his brother’ s wife. For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her. And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet. But on Herod’ s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.”