Today is the commemoration of the birth of Saint John the Baptist. Therefore, the day has come to be called by many a “Summer Christmas.”
John’s parents were Elizabeth, the cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Zacharias.
When dispute arose as to the name of the child (see the day’s gospel lesson), his father Zacharias, still without speech caused by God for his unbelief, wrote on a tablet that the child’s name would be “John.”
Immediately Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied, saying “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” (Luke 1:68-69)
The accompanying picture – a fresco – is by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1486-90), and is located in Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy.