Saturday, 24 June was the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (six months B.C.): Baptist-link ūnus, Baptist-link duo, & Wikipedia-link.
Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Family bulletin:
On this Solemnity, we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist, the herald of the Messiah. The account of his birth is recounted in the first chapter of the Gospel according to (St.) Luke (18 October).The Baptist's martyrdom is also commemorated, on 29 August.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty-nine, verses one thru six;
Psalm One Hundred Thirty-nine, verses one(b), two, & three; thirteen & fourteen(a,b); & fourteen(c) & fifteen;
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter thirteen, verses twenty-two thru twenty-six;
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter one, verses fifty-seven thru sixty-six & eighty.
Commentary: Gospel reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, today’s Gospel celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. I think it’s fair to say that you cannot really understand Jesus without understanding John, which is precisely why all four evangelists tell the story of the Baptist as a kind of overture to the story of Jesus. John did not draw attention to himself. Rather, he presented himself as a preparation, as a forerunner, a prophet preparing the way of the Lord. He was summing up much of Israelite history, but stressing that this history was open-ended, unfinished.Otherwise, 24 June would have been the festival of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Our Lady-link ūna, Our Lady-link duae & Wikipedia-link.
And therefore, how powerful it was when, upon spying Jesus coming to be baptized, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” No first century Israelite would have missed the meaning of that: behold the one who has come to be sacrificed. Behold the sacrifice, which will sum up, complete, and perfect the temple. Moreover, behold the Passover lamb, who sums up the whole meaning of that event and brings it to fulfillment.
And this is why John says, “He must increase and I must decrease.” In other words, the overture is complete; and now the great opera begins. The preparatory work of Israel is over, and now the Messiah will reign.
Commentary: Wayback Machine. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a moveable feast observed on the third Friday following Pentecost, & so a moveable feast as well. Solemnities outweigh all other festivals; the timing of the Solemnities of the Sacred Heart & the Nativity of the Baptist being on back-to-back days squeezed out the memorial of the Immaculate Heart. Our Lady's heart, being immaculate, is supremely patient, understanding, & forgiving.