Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
The birth of St. John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Messiah, was announced by the Archangel Gabriel to his father, Zechariah. Sanctified while yet in his mother’s womb, St. John the Baptist leapt for joy when he heard the Blessed Virgin’s greeting to his mother St. Elizabeth.
First Reading – Is 49:1-6
Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Responsorial Psalm – 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15 (R.14)
R. I praise You, for I am wonderfully made.
O LORD, You have probed me, You know me:
You know when I sit and when I stand;
You understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest You scrutinize,
with all my ways You are familiar. R.
Truly You have formed my inmost being;
You knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works. R.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to You
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth. R.
Second Reading – Acts 13:22-26
In those days, Paul said: “God raised up David as king; of him God testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish. From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’ My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those others among you who are God-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent.”
Gospel – Lk 1:57-66, 80
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
St. Joseph Cafasso – Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Turin – Italy
St. Joseph Cafasso, priest (†1860). Close friend of St. John Bosco; he dedicated himself to the formation of seminarians and providing spiritual aid to prisoners and those condemned to death in Turin, Italy.
St. Bilius, Bishop and martyr (†c. 914). According to tradition, he was killed by the Normans when they sacked the city of Vannes, France.
St. Thomas Garnet, priest and martyr (†1608). English Jesuit, executed during the reign of James I of England.
St. Ethelreda (Audrey), abbess (+679). Formerly queen consort of Northumbria, she was finally able to embrace the religious state and founded the abbey of Ely cathedral. She was the most venerated of the women saints of Anglo-Saxon England.
Blessed Peter James of Pesaro, religious (†1496). At a very young age he entered the Order of Saint Augustine. He was appointed director of students for the Augustinians in Italy.
Blessed Maria Raffaella Cimatti, virgin (†1945). Religious from the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, dedicated to the care of the sick and the poor. She showed heroic charity in aiding wounded soldiers in the Second World War.
Blessed Marie d’Oignies, widow (†1213). While young, with the consent of her husband, she renounced the world and dedicated herself to works of mercy. She founded and governed the Institute of Beguines.