The Birth of John the Baptist
John's parents were Zachary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary went to visit and help when Elizabeth was old and about to become a mother.
St. Elizabeth had her baby. Zachary named him John, as the angel had requested. John had a special calling. He was going to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. So when he was still young, he went into the desert to prepare himself with silence, prayer and penance. Soon crowds started to come to him. They realized he was a holy man. He warned them to be sorry for their sins. He told them to change their lives, and he gave them the baptism of repentance. One day, Jesus himself came to John. He wanted to be baptized with John's baptism to begin making up for our sins. On that day, John told the crowds that Jesus was the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for. He told them and everyone else to follow him.
Later on, St. John learned that King Herod had married a woman who already had a husband and a daughter. This king was the son of the King Herod who had murdered all those little boys in Bethlehem. St. John told him that it was wrong for him to live with that woman. King Herod was angry and humiliated. He locked John up in prison. John remained in a dark, damp dungeon until Herod had him killed.
St. John's motto was, "Jesus must become more and more. I must become less and less." He said that he was not even worthy to loosen the strap of Jesus' sandal.
"Blessed is the man who finds no stumbling block in me (Mt. 11:2-6)