Saint John the Baptist (0-31 AD)
The Lord Jesus called his cousin ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST the greatest man born to woman . . .
Feast Day: June 24
John the Baptist was the son of Zechariah, a priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, and Elizabeth, the Blessed Mother’s cousin. John lived as a hermit until he was about 30. He then began baptizing people in the Jordan River. John attracted large crowds and urged them to penance for the “Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.”
Asked by Jewish authorities if he was the messiah, John quoted Isaiah, declared himself to be “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,” preparing the way for the One whose sandals he was not worthy to untie.
John subsequently baptized his cousin Jesus and hailed him as the messiah. John continued to preach in the Jordan Valley until Herod Antipas arrested him after John denounced Herod’s marriage to his half-brother’s wife Herodias. John was imprisoned at Machaerus Fortress on the Dead Sea until he was beheaded at the request of Herodias’ daughter.
John inspired many of his followers — among them the apostles Andrew and John — to follow Christ, whom he called the “Lamb of God.” John is the patron saint of the Knights Hospitaller, Jordan, Puerto Rico, French Canada, Newfoundland, and many other locations.
BRIAN FRAGA is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.