The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist - Memorial
"And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High " (Lk 1,76)
Among all the holy and blessed ones, I do not know which to prefer of all the claims to glory of John the Baptist, whose feast we celebrate today : his miraculous birth or his even more miraculous death. His birth carried a prophecy with it (Lk 1:67 f.), his death, the truth; his birth announced the Savior's coming, his death condemned Herod's incestuous relationship. This holy saint... was worthy in God's eyes of not departing from it in the same way as others do in this world: he left the body he had received from the Lord while he was confessing him. In all things John fulfilled God's will since his life, like his death, corresponded to God's designs...
Even while still in his mother's womb he celebrated the Lord's coming with joyful movements since he was unable to do so by word. Elizabeth said to blessed Mary: “When the voice of your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk 1:44). John, then, rejoiced before his birth, and even before his eyes could see what the world looks like, his spirit already recognised who is its Lord. I think that this is the meaning of the prophet's words: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before were born I had consecrated you” (Jer 1:5). So let us not be astonished if, locked up in the prison where Herod had put him, he went on preaching Christ by means of his disciples' mediation (Mt 11:2) for, enclosed as he was in his mother's womb, he already proclaimed the Lord's coming with his bounds.