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Celebrate John the Baptist’s Feast With Honey Chicken

By Michelle DiFranco | Photography By Shane Folkertsma

Celebrate John the Baptist’s Feast With Honey Chicken

We’re Skipping the Locusts...

When we think of John the Baptist, we visualize an unkempt man living in the wilderness, feasting on locusts and wild honey, proclaiming dire warnings of repentance to all who would listen. But of course we know he was so much more. The Gospels describe a prophet who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus’ coming and for his ministry here on earth.

The people of Jerusalem and the Judean countryside would flock to him to be baptized. During his ministry, he gave witness to holiness and purity, and publicly condemned immorality in all forms. He was humble and understood his role of paving the way for others to follow Jesus: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” (Mk 1:7-8)

John followed a life of simplicity and poverty, which would explain his diet while living in the wilderness. I’ve often wondered why locusts and honey, but I’m going to skip the locust part for obvious reasons and jump right to the honey.

Honey is mentioned more than 60 times in the Bible, and we know today that raw honey is replete with health benefits. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and is an excellent source of antioxidants.

Perhaps this is what helped sustain John in the wilderness. But since it’s also known to aid in detoxing the body of impurities and healing wounds, I can’t help but consider it a spiritual metaphor for John’s ministry – helping people heal the wounds of sin and purify their hearts through baptism.

Our family loves honey since it is a healthier alternative to sugar, but mostly because it is so wonderful tasting! We like it in baked treats and even add it to some of our savory dishes too, including the following recipe which is a favorite during the summer months. This dish would be a great addition to celebrating the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, which is June 24, but celebrated June 23 this year because June 24 has been declared the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.


Honey Garlic Grilled Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts

½ cup honey

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4-5 cloves garlic (minced)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

2 sprigs rosemary (chopped)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all listed ingredients. Poke a few fork holes in each chicken breast and place in a large zip lock bag. Pour 2/3 of the marinade over the chicken and store the remaining in an airtight container in fridge. Place the chicken in fridge overnight (or marinate for at least 6 hours).

Heat grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the container of remaining honey garlic glaze and chicken breasts from the fridge. Remove chicken from bag and let excess marinade drip off before placing on grill/grill pan. Cook for 6-7 minutes on one side. Flip over and continue to cook. After 2-3 minutes, heavily baste on the remaining glaze and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes (or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees).

Celebrate John the Baptist’s Feast With Honey Chicken 2

Michelle DiFranco is a designer and the busy mom of three children.