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Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Year B

The Nativity of John the Baptist

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Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, technically the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.  Every year on June 24 the church celebrates this festival which goes back to ancient times, goes back to the fourth or fifth Centuries A.D.  And this year since it falls on a Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Feast, the Solemnity of John the Baptist, supersedes the Sunday of Ordinary Time.  So one of the things you’ll notice about the readings today is that the gospel will come from the Gospel of Luke even though it's Year B, because that gospel is the one that records the account of the birth of St. John the Baptist. So a few points before we begin to look at the readings for today. I just want to start by pointing out the reason for celebrating the feast today, right. So why does the church celebrate the festival of John's birth on June 24?  Well if you go back to the Gospel of Luke and you think about the story of the Annunciation to Mary, you will recall that when the angel Gabriel appears to Mary, he tells Mary that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant with a child and that she is now in her sixth month. That’s in Luke 1:36.  And so because of this, we can infer that Jesus is born six months after John the Baptist, and that’s always been the traditional interpretation of the gospel account. So when we think about the of birth of Christ, the traditional date of Christ’s birth being December 25, if you just back it up six months it puts you in June. And so the traditional date for the birth of John the Baptist is June 24 and the church has celebrated it on that date...


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