Approximately six months before the birth of Jesus Christ, was the birth of Elisabeth and Zachariah’s son, John. Mary had gone to the home of Elisabeth and Zachariah to visit. Luke 1:41 states:
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:”
Some believe that at this same time Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, so was her, soon to be born son, John, who would become known as John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a man of strong conviction, who was not afraid to stand up for what is right and just. He detested sin and live to embody all that is strong and righteous in a human being. Conversely, John was humble, giving and was not interested in accolades. One author used the word magnanimous to describe John, as he was a strong man who was especially patronizing and generous to those who were weaker or could not speak for themselves.
Today, June 24th, though, originally a pagan celebration, commemorates the Nativity of John the Baptist. Many Christian denominations celebrate the feast day of John the Baptist. However, for Catholics, John the Baptist’s feast day is special. For Catholics, it is usually the commemoration of the saint’s death that becomes their feast day. Only in the case of the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist are their birthdays their feast days. The reasons for both of these exceptions is that both are believed to be free from original sin… Mary from the moment of her birth and John while he was in the womb of Elisabeth. This is not, in any way, to suggest that any Freemasons are free from sin.
As such, it is unknown why the Holy Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist were chosen as the patron saints of Freemasonry. Generally speaking, patron saints of a given profession were chosen because that venerated one had some association with that profession. In the case of John, he was a preacher, prophet and is often referred to as the precursor to Jesus Christ. In fact, it is said that many, if not all, of John’s followers became followers of Jesus Christ, at the behest of John himself after he baptized Jesus. Regarding John’s profession and any possible relation to Freemasonry, it is safe to say that preaching and stone masonry are not related.
What can be said of any relation between John the Baptist and Freemasonry is that John embodies personal properties which all Freemasons should strive for. In the opinion of this author, Jesus Christ embodies all of the properties of character and humanity that all humankind should strive for, knowing that we will never attain such perfection. John the Baptist embodies everything that we, as Freemasons, should strive for and are, in fact, capable of… We are capable of being just, yet forgiving, prudent, yet generous and strong, yet gentle.
Our obligations lay it all out for us. While certainly including myself, I encourage each of you to consider the words you said and the position you were in when you said it, as Freemasons. Though, certainly, not meant to be a replacement for the tenants of our respective faiths, they are meant to help us live lives that are more reflective of what Jesus, John the Evangelist and John the Baptist stood for and embodied.