Falling near the summer solstice, this solemnity has been observed as one of the great feasts in many cultures, especially those related to Mediterranean nations. Its importance in the cycle of Christian feasts is indicated by the separate texts for a vigil Mass. The readings for both Masses focus on God's call to John as prophet from before his birth. God has a plan for all of us, though that plan may not involve such dramatic events as those surrounding the birth and ministry of the Baptist.

Vigil Mass, Lectionary #586
Jeremiah 1:4–10. Jeremiah's call to be a prophet means that he will speak God's words on a world stage, and that word will have power “to root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.”

Psalm for the Vigil Mass: Ps (70) 71
This individual lament begins with an affirmation of trust in God and a promise to continue speaking God's word in spite of affliction.

Since My Mother’s Womb (Alstott) BB
Since My Mother’s Womb (Currie/Gelineau) WOR 1033/LPGG 1038
Since My Mother’s Womb (Guimont) RS 100/GC2 942/LPMG 586
Since My Mother’s Womb (Kasbohm) PRM C108/PMB 748/WS
Since My Mother’s Womb (Schiavone) JS 1054/LP 199

1 Peter 1:8–12. Writing to those who had never met Jesus, the author of this letter assures them that their faith will gain them salvation. The prophets were speaking to them, even though the prophets didn't know this at the time.

Luke 1:5–17. Just as Gabriel went to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26 –38), so an angel appears to Zechariah to announce the birth of John.

Songs for the Liturgy
See the suggestions for Mass during the day.

Mass during the Day Lectionary #587

Isaiah 49:1–6. The prophet known as Deutero-Isaiah tells about his call from God. His message will go not only to Israel but to the nations.

Psalm for the Mass during the Day: Ps (138) 139
The psalmist reflects on God's intimate knowledge of every human being. God is aware of the psalmist's every move, a knowledge which extends back to the very beginning, for God created the psalmist in the womb.
I Praise You (Alstott) BB
I Praise You (Armstrong/Somerville) CBW 220
I Praise You (Bogdan) PRM C109/PMB 749/WS
I Praise You (Currie/Gelineau) WOR 1034
I Praise You (Guimont) RS 187/GC2 1006/LPMG 587
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 PSL C216/SS
I Will Praise You/Te Doy Gracias (Alonso) SS
Te Doy Gracias (Martínez) FYC 271
Te Doy Gracias (Montgomery) FYC 272

Acts 13:22–26. Paul proclaims an early summary of Jesus’ life and mission, which includes the preaching and baptismal work of John as heralding Jesus' coming.

Luke 1:57–66, 80. Luke’s account of John's birth and naming includes a miracle and, as at the birth of Jesus, speculation about what all of this might mean for the future.

Songs for the Liturgy
A Voice Cries Out (V1,D1,VG) GP 294/JS 313/RS 485/GC2 343/BB
Arise, Your Light Is Come (V1) CBW 302
*Before the Sun Burned Bright (V1,D1) GP 577/CBW 504
Blessed Be the Lord (DG) GP 442
Blest Be the God of Israel (DG) WOR 6/CBW 13E, 660/JS 4, 121/GP 156/JS 137, 413/PMB 4, 179/WC 203, 453/WS/MI-BB
By All Your Saints Still Striving (V2, D2) WOR 706/RS 887/CBW 455/JS 784/PMB 524/WC 962/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
God Has Chosen Me (V1,D1,Vps,Dps) GP 546/JS 831/GC 682/GC2 669
God, Whose Purpose Is to Kindle (V1,D1,VG) RS 828/GC 714/GC2 704
*God’s Tender Mercy (DC) PSL C217/SS
*Guide Me, Lord (Dps) RS 186
How Shall They Hear the Word of God (V1,D1) WOR 629
*John Was Sent from God (DE) PSL C215/SS
Let the Valleys Be Raised (V1,VG,DG) GP 310/BB
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/SS
Now Bless the God of Israel (DG) RS 7/GC 5, 775/GC2 5
*O God, You Search Me (Dps) JS 711/GP 601/GC2 509/MI-BB
Prepare the Way of the Lord (V1,D1,VG) WOR 369/RS 491/GC 336/GC2 330/CBW 317
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (V1,D1,VG) LMGM 2
Ready the Way (V1,D1,VG) JS 323/BB
*Secrets of My Heart: Psalm 139 (Dps) WC 446/WS
The Day Is Near (VG,VD) GC 768
The Great Forerunner of the Morn (VG,DG) WOR 698/RS 879/JS 515
We Will Drink the Cup (V1,D1) GC 709
When Jesus Came to Jordan (V2,D2) WOR 697/RS 878
When John Baptized by Jordan’s River (V2,D2) WOR 412/RS 538/GC2 390/JS 373/CBW 325/BB/SS
*Without Seeing You (V2) GC 844/GC2 842
*You Are Near (Dps) GP 619/GC 604/GC2 590/CBW 487/JS 606/PMB 722/WC 868/LMGM 184/MI-BB
You Have Anointed Me (V1,D1) RS 795/GC 676/GC2 660/GP 555
*Zechariah, Do Not Fear (VE) IH 77