The Feast of John The Baptist
Today is the feast of St. John the Baptist, an important figure in the early Church and particularly the Eastern traditions of Christianity. It was John who culminated the prophetic tradition of Israel and who actually pointed out the presence of the Lord, even when he was in his mother’s womb when he “lept” when Mary made her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. John’s identification of Jesus came at some cost to his own fame which was, according to several traditions, rather substantial. John realized that it was his job to identity the savior, not to play the role himself. The line from scripture, “he must increase and I must decrease” provides the clue as to why his feast day is at the end of June. It is at this time of year that the days start getting shorter, six months later, the days start getting brighter, the time of the birth of Christ. This diminishment of John’s authority and fame and its transference to the person of Christ recalls Ignatius’ insistence that all is for the greater glory and honor of God.