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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Solemnity of The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist get Solemnities in the Catholic liturgical calendar. Christ Himself indicated the great graces given to St. John the Baptist.

Matthew 11:11Douay-Rheims 

11 Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Christ, being the Incarnate Son of God, came to us in perfection. Mary was conceived without Original Sin, and John the Baptist was cleansed of sin in his mother's womb.
Solemnities cannot be "skipped" like optional memorials by priests saying Mass.  Even the Apostles, except for SS. Peter and the Apostle to the Gentiles, who get a Solemnity, just get "Feasts", not "Solemnities". In our modern times, John the Baptist has been overlooked or underestimated. But, he is the Precursor, the man who prepared the way for the Messiah.
John, born free of sin, came into the world full of sanctifying grace according to Divine Providence's plan.

There are a few "Memorials" attached to Christ or Mary, such as the Holy Name of Mary, and the Holy Name of Jesus. The Transfiguration and the Exaltation of the Cross are "Feasts".  Liturgists have great time explaining the transferring of various feasts (small "f"), to the closest Monday, when there are higher liturgical days which take precedence. 
From the earliest days of the Church, St. John the Baptist's day was considered special. In fact, in Eastern Rites of the Church, and in the Eastern Orthodox churches, today is a holy day of obligation.
Let us call upon holy St. John the Baptist to help us on our way today. The great cathedral in Valletta, Malta holds his dedication. This feast, as well as the Beheading, creates an important holy day for that country.

And, we sing the Te Deum today...wonderful.