Saint of the Day

June 24

Birth of Saint John the Baptist

The birth of John the Baptist was one of the earliest feasts to be named to a particular day on the Church calendar. June 24 was chosen as it is six months before the birth of Christ. With its proximity to the summer solstice, it signifies the waning of the light, while the birth of Jesus near the winter solstice marks the coming of the light. On the occasion of his birth, Elizabeth and Zechariah, his parents, called him John in accordance with an angel's instruction to his father. In disbelief that they would have a son, Zechariah asked for a sign and was struck dumb, but with the giving of the name, his speech was restored and Luke records that he responded with the Benedictus ("Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel..."), the great hymn of love and thanksgiving still recited in the liturgy of the hours.

©2011 Living with Christ, Novalis - Bayard Press Canada Inc., http://www.livingwithchrist.ca/. Reprinted with permission.