Saint John the Baptist is a unique saint whose life is unlike any other.
Sanctified from the womb, he performs miracles even before his birth. By the joy he spreads during the Visitation, he announces the Savior; he restores fertility to his mother and speech to his father.
Precursor, he prepares the way of the Lord, preaches the conversion of morals, and institutes the baptism of penance, because the Messianic times have arrived. The time has come when the prophecies are going to come true.
He announces the Savior whose public manifestation is imminent. He baptizes his Lord in the waters of the Jordan, where the voice of the Father is heard, and the Holy Ghost appears in the form of a dove.
Then he steps aside, letting the best of his disciples follow Christ and the crowds he instructed to join the Messiah.
Oportet minui: “Christ must increase but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).
His mission completed, he remains faithful to the Law of God of which he testifies publicly, denouncing the moral disorders of the authorities. He has the courage to confront King Herod, who maintains an illegitimate and scandalous union with his sister-in-law, Herodias, while her husband is still living.
The shrew takes advantage of an unexpected opportunity—a mesmerizing dance by Salome, her daughter; an imprudent oath by Herod; a criminal application; the expectation of the drunken guests, which prevents the king from retracting his statement; the fear of upsetting a tyrannical companion.
To the testimony that St. John the Baptist gave to Christ at his baptism, is added today the martyrdom of blood—in defense of marriage and faithfulness to the Law of God.
In his prison, Herod’s henchmen suddenly arise and seize the saint, whose head they cut off to bring it on a platter, among the satiated guests, amidst barbarous festivities... Did St. John the Baptist even know the cause of his condemnation?
Admirable in constancy and abandonment, St. John the Baptist wishes were granted beyond measure. Oportet minui: “Christ must increase but I must decrease.