The solemnity of John’s birth is one of the oldest feasts in the Roman calendar: It is one of the few to have a vigil Mass with its own special texts. Observed near the summer solstice, it occurs about a month after the celebration of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth on May 31, when Elizabeth’s baby leapt in her womb (see Luke 1:39–80). The vigil was celebrated with the lighting of “St. John’s Fires” on hilltops, probably an ancient practice associated with the solstice. Like some other saints who were beheaded, John is a patron saint of singers! This solemnity is a very important feast in many cultures.

VIGIL Lectionary #586
Even if we don’t realize it, we’re serving God’s purpose and plan.

Jeremiah 1:4–10. The call of Jeremiah “in the days of King Josiah.” The prophet should rely on God’s promise and on the words that God will provide.

Psalm of the Day: Ps 71
The verses from this individual lament that we use today come from the first part of the psalm, a plea to God for deliverance, though our excerpt ends with praise of God’s righteousness.

Since My Mother’s Womb (Currie/Gelineau) W3 1033/WOR4 1215/LPGG 1038
Since My Mother’s Womb (Guimont) RS 100/GC2 942/G3 1199/LPMG 586
Since My Mother’s Womb (Hunstiger)   SS
Since My Mother’s Womb (Kasbohm)   OIF 1140/PRM C108/PMB 748/WS
Since My Mother’s Womb (Schiavone)   JS 1054/LP 199

1 Peter 1:8–12. Part of what is probably an ancient baptismal homily, this reading points out that we all work for God, but what we do may fit a pattern in the divine plan that we can’t yet discern.

Luke 1:5–17. The promise of a son made to Zechariah in the Temple is a promise filled with pain, because the priest Zechariah would certainly be aware of what usually happens to God’s prophets.

Songs for the Liturgy
See Mass during the Day

MASS DURING THE DAY Lectionary #587
John served God as prophet and as herald. How is he a model for us?

Isaiah 49:1–6. In one of the servant songs, the prophet celebrates a ministry of reconciliation in which God calls Israel back. The servant will be a light to the nations.

Psalm of the Day: Ps (138) 139
A combination of hymn and lament, this psalm praises God as the creator who is intimately involved with the creation, particularly with the life of the psalmist.

I Praise You (Armstrong/Somerville) CBW 220
I Praise You (Bogdan)   OIF 1141/PRM C109/PMB 749/WS
I Praise You (Currie/Gelineau) W3 1034
I Praise You (Guimont) RS 187/GC2 1006/G3 1200/WOR4 1216/LPMG 587
I Praise You (Hunstiger) SS
I Praise You (Proulx/Gelineau)   LPGG 1039
I Praise You (Schiavone)   JS 1055/LP 200
I Praise Your Name (Lisicky) GC 135
I Will Praise You, I Will Thank You   PSL B-214/SS

Acts 13:22–26. John is presented as a herald for the savior, Jesus.

Luke 1:57–66, 80. The story of John’s birth includes a miraculous cure of Zechariah. There are strong parallels between this story and Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth (2:6–21), including the use of a name given by an angel to the child before birth.

Songs for the Liturgy

A Voice Cries Out (V1,D1,VG) GP 294/JS 313/RS 485/GC2 343/G3 416/BB 45
Arise, Your Light Is Come (V1) CBW 302/WOR4 583
*Before the Sun Burned Bright (V1,D1) GP 577/CBW 504
Blessed Be the Lord (DG) GP 442
*Blest Be the God of Israel (VC,DG,DC) W3 6/CBW 13E, 660/JS 4, 121/GP 156/OIF 211, 300/PMB 4,179/WC 203, 483/WS/SS
By All Your Saints Still Striving (V2, D2)  BB 198/W3 706/WOR4 890/RS 887/CBW 455/JS 784/OIF 898/PMB 524/WC 990/SS
By Name I Have Called You (V1,Vps,VG,DG) GP 582
*Called by My Name (DE)   IH 78
Christ Is Coming: Prepare the Way (V1,D1,VG) LMGM 10
Every Valley (V1,D1,VG)   JS 326/BB 72
God Has Chosen Me (V1,D1,Vps,Dps) GP 546/JS 831/GC 682/GC2 669/G3 761/WOR4 781/MI-BB 379
God, Whose Purpose Is to Kindle (V1,D1,VG) RS 828/GC 714/GC2 704/WOR4 797
*God’s Tender Mercy (VC,DG,DC)   PSL B-215/SS
*Guide Me, Lord (DPs) RS 186
How Shall They Hear the Word of God (V1,D1) W3 629
*John Was Sent from God (DE)   PSL B-213/SS
Let the Valleys Be Raised (V1,VG,DG) GP 310/BB 67
Listen, My People (V1) CBW 309
*Lord, You Search Me and You Know Me (Dps) CBW 474
My Soul in Stillness Waits (VG,DG) RS 495/GC 328/GC2 336/G3 415/WOR4 404/SS
*Now Bless the God of Israel (VC,DG,DC) RS 7/GC 5, 775/GC2 5/G3 103/WOR4 125/SS
*O God, You Search Me (DPs)   JS 711/GP 601/GC2 509/G3 581/WOR4 580/MI-BB 439
*Praise Our God and Savior (VC,DG,DC)   WOR4 622/G3 597
Prepare! Prepare! (V1,D1,VG)   G3 398
Prepare the Way of the Lord (V1,D1,VG)  W3 369/WOR4 389/RS 491/GC 336/GC2 330/G3 400/CBW 317
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (V1,D1,VG) LMGM 2/OIF 351/WS
Ready the Way (V1,D1,VG)   JS 323/BB 64, 69                    
*Secrets of My Heart (DPs) OIF 293/WC 476/WS
The Baptist Bore Witness (D1) WOR4 765
The Day Is Near (VG,VD) GC 768
The Great Forerunner of the Morn (VG,DG) W3 698/WOR4 878/RS 879/JS 515/MI-BB 727
The Moon with Borrowed Light   WOR4 877
We Will Drink the Cup (V1,D1) GC 709
When Jesus Came to Jordan (V2,D2) W3 697/WOR4 456/RS 878
When Jesus Comes to Be Baptized BB 113
When John Baptized by Jordan’s River (V2,D2) W3 412/WOR4 458/OIF 413/RS 538/GC2 390/G3 467/JS 373/CBW 325/WC 553/SS
*Without Seeing You (V2) GC 844/GC2 842/G3 922
*You Are Near (DPs) GP 619/GC 604/GC2 590/G3 695/CBW 487/JS 606/OIF 790/PMB 722/WC 894/LMGM 184/MI-BB 436
You Have Anointed Me (V1,D1) RS 795/GC 676/GC2 660/G3 773/GP 555
*Zechariah, Do Not Fear (VE)   IH 77