At that time John, the son of Zachary and Elizabeth, was thirty years old. From childhood he had been living alone in the desert, eating nothing but locusts and honey.
John was called by the Spirit of God to prepare for the coming of the Saviour. He therefore left the desert and began preaching.
John went near the Jordan river, to a place where many people going to Jerusalem or leaving it passed. He preached, crying to all, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Do penance for your sins."
When the people asked John what they should do, he told them to share their goods with the poor. He said that the tax-gatherers should take only what was their right. He advised the soldiers not to accuse anyone falsely.
John baptized in the Jordan all who were penitent. This was a sign of the purification of their souls. John is called the Baptist, because he baptized many to prepare them for the Lord.
Many who heard John thought him a great prophet. Others believed him to be the promised Redeemer. But John said, "I baptize you with water. One will come Who is mightier than I, Whose shoe-string I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost." In these words he spoke of Jesus.
One day Jesus Himself came to John to be baptized. John knew at once that Jesus was the Son of God. He refused to baptize Him, saying, "I ought to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?"
But Jesus answered, "Let it be done so, now. For we must do everything that My Father wills." So John baptized Jesus in the Jordan.
When He was baptized, Jesus went out of the water. At once the heavens were opened. The Holy Ghost came down in the form of a dove. and rested on Jesus. From heaven the Father spoke, "This is My be-loved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."
When we are baptized, we become children of God and members of the Catholic Church. The Holy Ghost descends upon us. Original sin and all other sins we may have are washed away.
- from , by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, D.D., 1934; it has the Imprimatur of Archbishop Michael J O'Doherty of Manila, Philippines