SIMPLE / PURPLE
The important feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is preceded by a vigil. An angel announced to the saint's father, Zachary, a priest of the house of Aaron, that the child should be called John and that many would rejoice in his birth. God had chosen John to be the herald of mankind's Redeemer, the morning star to usher in the daylight of justice and of truth. Therefore, he was sanctified in his mother's womb, when Elizabeth was honored by a visit from the Virgin Mother of God, carrying Christ in her body. In like manner, Jesus today gives sanctifying joy to the missionary precursors whom He calls to go before Him into pagan lands.
INTROIT Luke 1:13, 15, 14
Do not be afraid, Zachary, for thy petition has been heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son and thou shalt call his name John. And he shall be great before the Lord; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. And many will rejoice at his birth.
Ps. 20:2. O Lord, the king rejoiced in Your strength; he greatly exalts in Your aid.
V. Glory be . . .
May Your servants walk in the path of salvation, O Almighty God. May they follow the exhortation of blessed John, the precursor of Jesus Christ and herald of His coming, so that by doing so they may come safely to Your Son our Lord; who lives and rules with You . . .
LESSON Jer. 1:4-10
In those days, the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations." And I said: "Ah, ah, ah, Lord God: behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child." And the Lord said to me: "Say not: I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee: and whatsoever I shall command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid at their presence: for I am with thee to deliver thee," saith the Lord. And the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth: and the Lord said to me: "Behold I have given my words in thy mouth: Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant," said the Lord Almighty.
GRADUAL John 1:6-7
There was a man, one sent from God, whose name was John.
V. This man came to bear witness concerning the light, to prepare a perfect people for the Lord.
GOSPEL Luke 1:5-17
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth. And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.
And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren: and they both were well advanced in years.
And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled: and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him: "Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son. And thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness: and many shall rejoice in his nativity. For he shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias: that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 8:6-7
You have crowned him with glory and honor, and You have given him rule over the works of Your hands, O Lord.
Bless these gifts we offer You, O Lord. May they cleanse us from the stain of our sins by the intercession of blessed John the Baptist. Through our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Ps. 20:6
His glory is great because of Your help; You have conferred upon him glory and great splendor, O Lord.
O Lord, may the powerful intercession of blessed John the Baptist be ours, so that it may obtain for us the mercy of Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, whom John foretold would come; who lives and rules with You . . .