John's parents were Elizabeth the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Zachary a temple priest whose job was to burn incense. Zachary and Elizabeth were quite old when one day an angel of God appeared to Zachary in the temple. The angel told him that his wife would bear a son who would be filled with the Holy Spirit at his birth. The child should be named John.
Zachary found this difficult to believe and God punished him by taking away his voice. He remained dumb until after Johnís birth. Eight days after John was born his parents took him to the temple where he would be named Zachary, after his father. But both Elizabeth and Zachary asked for the child to be named John. Immediately, Zacharyís tongue was loosened and got back his voice.
John had a special job to do for God. He was going to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. So when he was still young, about twenty-seven, he went into the desert to prepare himself with silence, prayer and penance. He wore a tunic of camel hair with a leather belt and lived on wild honey and locusts (the locust tree is an evergreen that has edible bean like pods).
Soon crowds started to come to him. They realized he was a holy man. He warned them to be sorry for their sins and asked them to change their lives. He baptized them with water and 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 Herodias 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 and John remained in a dark, damp dungeon for a long time. Then on Herodís birthday Herodiasís daughter danced beautifully at his banquet. The delighted Herod said he would grant her any she wished. At her motherís request, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
The shocked Herod had not choice and sent his executioner to kill John and bring back his head. When his disciples heard about it, they immediately came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Jesus said, ďI am the TruthĒ and John died for the truth.
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.