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Catholic Faith Communities of Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands
St John the Baptist, the son of Zachary and Elizabeth, straddles both Old and New Testaments. His parents were reckoned as 'just before God' (Lk 1:6). John the Baptist is a major figure in the history of salvation. While in his mother's womb, he recognised the Saviour (cf. Lk 1:39-45); his birth was accompanied by great signs (cf. Ik 1:57-66); he retired to the desert where he led a life of austerity and penance (cf. Lk 1:80; Mi 3:4); 'Prophet of the Most High' [Lk 1:76), the word of God descended on him (Lk 3: 2); 'he went through the whole of the Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins' [Lk 3:3); like the new Elijah, humble and strong, he prepared his people to receive the Lord (cf. Lk 1:17); in accordance with Goa's saving plan, he baptised the Saviour of the World in the waters of the Jordan (cf. Mt 3:13-16); to his disciples, he showed that Jesus was 'the Lamb of God' (Jn 1:29), 'the Son of God' (Jn 1:34), the Bridegroom of the new messianic community (cf. Jn 3:28-30); he was imprisoned and decapitated by Herod for his heroic witness to the truth (cf. Mk 6:14-29), thereby becoming the Precursor of the Lord's own violent death, as he had been in his prodigious loirth and prophetic preaching. Jesus praised him by attributing to him the glorious phrase 'of all children born to women, there is no one greater than John' (Lk 7:28).
Diredory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 224
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