In the Church’s Liturgical Calendar there are very few Feasts involving the birth of someone. (Martyr’s dates are often referred to as “their birthday”, but I’m talking about an actual birth date.) Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist are the only ones I can think of. So, this tells you of the regard John the Baptist has in Christianity. Moreover, there are very few Feasts that actually has a “Vigil Mass” with different readings, and this Solemnity has that as well. So, why hold John the Baptist in such regard? Well, there are probably many reasons all of which are connected to Jesus. John is the precursor, the one who “prepares the way” for Jesus’ ministry. He is also the one who always “points” to Jesus and takes a back seat to Him, so to speak. That’s where we can imitate John the Baptist by always pointing others to Jesus in all we say and do.