John the Baptist knew his role was 'to prepare people for an encounter with the Lord," says Francis

In sharing the Gospel with others, Christians must be like St John the Baptist, Pope Francis has said.

Celebrating the feast of the birth of St John the Baptist earlier today, Pope Francis called him “the greatest among the prophets,” because he knew how to prepare people, discern the Lord’s identity and “diminish” so Jesus could increase.

John the Baptist was an important man, “people sought him out and followed him,” the Pope said during an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope wondered aloud whether St John was ever tempted “to think that he was important, but this never happened.” Instead, he always replied that one mightier than he was coming.

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John the Baptist knew his role was “to prepare the people, prepare people’s hearts for an encounter with the Lord,” Pope Francis said.