Tomorrow is Saint Jean Baptiste Day in Quebec now popularly known as La Fête Nationale (National Holiday) because it is more a secular, pagan outing. It has reverted to an orgy of boozing, dancing, reveling in excess ending with a big fireworks display paid for by our taxes.
My post is not to condemn what some French Quebecers have turned this holy day into but to talk about its origins, how it was once dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
Quebec at one time, made him their patron saint whom they venerated and honored with religious dignity and respect however, that was before the 1970’s and the so-called “quiet revolution”.
It was fomented by Quebec’s a tiny minority of monied elites, atheists, and communists bent on thwarting the power of the Catholic church that had kept Quebec culture, traditions, and the French language alive following the Battle on the Plains of Abraham near Quebec city.
John was the son of Jewish high priest Zachary and his wife Elizabeth who were an old couple that despite their best efforts could not have children both were very religious, pious, and God-fearing people very advanced in age when John was born to them.
God sent an angel to Zachary informing him that their fondest wish would happen, Elizabeth would bear a son.
They were also told to name the child John and that he would be uniquely accorded the Spirit (Holy Ghost) and have deceased prophet Elias’s power.
He would be Jesus Christ’s precursor converting many Israelites through his preaching and exemplary life of abstinence from strong drink or wine.
True the word, John wore clothing made from camel’s hair led a simple life in the desert and his restricted, daily diet consisted of locusts, wild honey, and whatever he managed to find edible.
Later on John was arrested, imprisoned, and murdered on King Herod’s orders fulfilling an adulteress’s desire, she used her daughter to find favor from an intoxicated Herod.
He foolishly kept that promise because she pleased him with her fancy dancing during a Roman orgy type party moreover, Herod foolishly feared loss of face amongst his guests for not carrying out his promise, that allowed John’s horrific, gruesome murder to happen.
Christ would later comment about his cousin’s death and His own mission to save humanity by mentioning this with these words to His skeptics and naysayers most of whom were His sworn enemies, the Pharisees and Sadducees. These guys were the elites in Jewish society who loved being the ‘beautiful people’ that everybody was to adore and talk about. They wanted the “little people” (ordinary, average people) to be jealous of them because of how religious they appeared to be.
“But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Luke 7:24-28).
And continuing, Jesus pointed out the inconsistency of the world in its opinions both of himself and his precursor: “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say: He hath a devil. The Son of man is coming eating and drinking: and you say: Behold a man that is a glutton and a drinker of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners. And wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke 7:33-35)
The picture is in the public domain found on internet.org and shows a bronze plaque depicting Saint John the Baptist.