The 24th of June is the solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the Great Precursor and Forerunner of Our Lord, who prepared the way for Our Most Holy Redeemer. He was the last of the prophets before Our Lord’s public life began,… and he leapt in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when she met her cousin, the Virgin Mary, at the Visitation (Luke 1:39-55). Elizabeth told Mary, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” which is part of the Hail Mary prayer recited throughout the world. St. John baptized and proclaimed Our Lord in the Jordan: “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world!” We say these very words at every Mass.
The Church has always understood St. John to be sinless, even though this has not been dogmatically defined. Unlike Our Lady, he was not conceived immaculately, but became so at the Visitation, when he leapt in his mother’s womb. This is why we celebrate his Nativity as his primary feast day (it is a solemnity), something that we do only for Our Lord and Lady, obviously also without sin. He is mentioned immediately after Our Lady in the litany of saints and in other prayers.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!