My brothers, here is the question of the day, how many Nativities does the Catholic Church recognize on her calendar? If you said two, I would give you a passing grade, because we all know of the most important Nativity on December 25th, and here I am writing under the title of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The correct answer is, however, third being September 8th, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Three, kind of an important number if you think about it.
The focus of today though is on our patron saint, the great St. John the Baptist, who by his intercession, may profit us unto salvation.
Appropriately celebrated six months before Christmas, days are starting to get shorter as we head into the meat of summer – so we are literally seeing a decrease, so that Christ may increase. A solemnity for the modern calendar, and a Double of the First Class with an Octave for the traditional calendar.
Maybe that is why the founders of our order decided on such heavy wool uniforms, so that we could be more like the Precursor of Christ – so our suffering is not just because someone had a connection to the wool industry, but to bear some of the sacrifice that John did by wearing his sack cloth, and eating of the honey and locusts of the land.
John is the boundary between the old and the new. The last great prophet of the Old Testament, who humbly ushered in the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry by baptizing him in the Jordan.
Let us then reflect on the birth and life of John the Baptist, that by our ardent desire to lead others to Christ, that we may humbly be a voice crying out in the desert.