Thought for the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Thought for the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honour, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist.  The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him:  rejection and martyrdom.   The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth.   But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?

This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah.   His vocation was one of selfless giving.   The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of yjr Lord.   “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.   I am not worthy to carry His sandals.   He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).

Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power.   John never allowed himself the false honour of receiving these people for his own glory.   He knew his calling was one of preparation.   When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus:   “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’   The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37).

It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ.   John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people.   His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions  . His heart was lifted on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart.   Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation, repentance, and salvation.

Each of us has a calling to which we must listen.   No-one will ever repeat the mission of John and yet all of us are called to that very mission.   It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus.   Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ.   By our words and deeds, others should realise that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord.   We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ’s saving grace.

St John the Baptist, Pray for us!st-john-the-baptist-pray-for-us-2-29 aug 2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, PAPAL HOMILIES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Quote/s of the Day – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

“And what else did John have in mind but what is virtuous,
so that he could not endure a wicked union even in the king’s case, saying:
“It is not lawful for thee to have her to wife.”
He could have been silent, had he not thought it unseemly for himself
not to speak the truth for fear of death,
or to make the prophetic office yield to the king,
or to indulge in flattery.
He knew well that he would die as he was against the king
but he preferred virtue to safety.
Yet what is more expedient than the suffering
which brought glory to the saint.”

St Ambrose (340-397) Father & Doctor of the Churchhe knew well that he would die - st ambrose - beheading st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

“As an authentic prophet,
John bore witness to the truth without compromise.
He denounced transgressions of God’s commandments,
even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them.
Thus, when he accused Herod and Herodias of adultery,
he paid with his life,
sealing with martyrdom,
his service to Christ who is Truth in person.”

Pope Benedict XVI (24 June 2007)as an authentic prophet - pope benedict - mem of beheading of st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist – Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:17–29

One Minute Reflection – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist – Today’s Gospel: Mark 6:17–29

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”…Mark 6:24mark-6-24.she went out and asked her mother - 29 aug 2017

REFLECTION – “John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him.   But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John;  rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.”…St Bede the Venerable (673-735) Father & Doctor of the Churchto endure temporal agonies - ven bede - 29 august 2018 st john the baptist

PRAYER – God our Father, You appointed St John the Baptist to be the herald of the birth and death of Christ Your Son. Grant that as he died a martyr for justice and truth, so we may also courageously bear witness to Your Word.   We make our prayer, through Jesus Christ our Lord with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. St John the Baptist, pray for us, aug 2017

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, HYMNS, MARTYRS, Our MORNING Offering, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Our Morning Offering – 29 August – The Memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist

Lauds Hymn
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

God called great prophets to foretell
the coming of His Son.
The greatest, called before his birth,
was John, the chosen one.

His life was filled with joy and hope;
he knew he must decrease,
and that we must prepare a place
where Jesus may increase.

John searched in solitude for Christ
and knew Him when He came.
He showed the world the Lamb of God
and hailed Him in our name.

That lonely voice cried out the truth
Derided and denied.
As witness to the law of God
His mighty martyr died.

We praise You, Trinity in One,
the light of unknown ways,
the hope of all who search for You
whose love fills all our days.lauds hymn - memorial of st john the baptist - 29 aug 2018

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 29 August – The Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

Saint of the Day – 29 August – The Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

Catechism of the Catholic Church
IV. The Spirit of Christ in the Fullness of Time
John, Precursor, Prophet and Baptist

719    John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.”   In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets.   John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel;  he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming.   As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.”   In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.   “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptises with the Holy Spirit and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God…. Behold, the Lamb of God.”john-the-Baptist-carvilli

Castel Gandolfo
Wednesday, 29 August 2012

This last Wednesday of the month of August is the liturgical Memorial of the martyrdom of St John the Baptist, the Precursor of Jesus.   In the Roman Calendar, he is the only saint whose birth and death, through martyrdom, are celebrated on the same day (in his case, 24 June).   Today’s Memorial commemoration dates back to the dedication of a crypt in Sebaste, Samaria, where his head had already been venerated since the middle of the fourth century.   The devotion later extended to Jerusalem, both in the Churches of the East and in Rome, with the title of the Beheading of St John the Baptist.   In the Roman Martyrology reference is made to a second discovery of the precious relic, translated for the occasion to the Church of San Silvestro in Campo Marzio, Rome.beheading Salome-with-the-head-of-St-john-the-Baptist

These small historical references help us to understand how ancient and deeply-rooted is the veneration of John the Baptist.   His role in relation to Jesus stands out clearly in the Gospels.   St Luke in particular recounts his birth, his life in the wilderness and his preaching, while in today’s Gospel St Mark tells us of his dramatic death.   John the Baptist began his preaching under the Emperor Tiberius in about 27-28 A.D. and the unambiguous invitation he addressed to the people, who flocked to listen to him, was to prepare the way to welcome the Lord, to straighten the crooked paths of their lives through a radical conversion of heart (cf. Lk 3:4).

However, John the Baptist did not limit himself to teaching repentance or conversion. Instead, in recognising Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who came to take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29), he had the profound humility to hold up Jesus as the One sent by God, drawing back so that he might take the lead and be heard and followed.   As his last act the Baptist witnessed with his blood to faithfulness to God’s commandments, without giving in or withdrawing, carrying out his mission to the very end.   In the 9th century the Venerable Bede says in one of his Homilies:  “St John gave his life for [Christ].   He was not ordered to deny Jesus Christ but was ordered to keep silent about the truth” (cf. Homily 23: CCL 122, 354).   And he did not keep silent about the truth and thus died for Christ who is the Truth.   Precisely for love of the truth he did not stoop to compromises and did not fear to address strong words to anyone who had strayed from God’s path.st_john

We see this great figure, this force in the Passion, in resistance to the powerful.   We wonder, what gave birth to this life, to this interiority so strong, so upright, so consistent, spent so totally for God in preparing the way for Jesus?   The answer is simple – it was born from the relationship with God, from prayer, which was the thread that guided him throughout his existence.   John was the divine gift for which his parents Zechariah and Elizabeth had been praying for so many years (cf. Lk 1:13), a great gift, humanly impossible to hope for, because they were both advanced in years and Elizabeth was barren (cf. Lk 1:7), yet nothing is impossible to God (cf. Lk 1:36).   The announcement of this birth happened precisely in the place of prayer, in the temple of Jerusalem, indeed it happened when Zechariah had the great privilege of entering the holiest place in the temple to offer incense to the Lord (cf. Lk 1:8-20).   John the Baptist’s birth was also marked by prayer, the Benedictus, the hymn of joy, praise and thanksgiving which Zechariah raises to the Lord and which we recite every morning in Lauds, exalts God’s action in history and prophetically indicates the mission of their son John – to go before the Son of God made flesh to prepare His ways (cf. Lk 1:67-79).

The entire existence of the Forerunner of Jesus was nourished by his relationship with God, particularly the period he spent in desert regions (cf. Lk 1:80).   The desert regions are places of temptation but also where man acquires a sense of his own poverty because once deprived of material support and security, he understands that the only steadfast reference point is God Himself.   John the Baptist, however, is not only a man of prayer, in permanent contact with God but also a guide in this relationship.   The Evangelist Luke, recalling the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, the Our Father, notes that the request was formulated by the disciples in these words:  “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his own disciples” (cf. Lk 11:1).

Dear brothers and sisters, celebrating the martyrdom of St John the Baptist reminds us too, Christians of this time, that with love for Christ, for His words and for the Truth, we cannot stoop to compromises.   The Truth is Truth; there are no compromises.   Christian life demands, so to speak, the “martyrdom” of daily fidelity to the Gospel, the courage, that is, to let Christ grow within us and let Him be the One who guides our thought and our actions.   However, this can happen in our life only if we have a solid relationship with God.   Prayer is not time wasted, it does not take away time from our activities, even apostolic activities but exactly the opposite is true only if we are able to have a faithful, constant and trusting life of prayer will God Himself give us the ability and strength to live happily and serenely, to surmount difficulties and to witness courageously to Him.   St John the Baptist, intercede for us, that we may be ever able to preserve the primacy of God in our life.   Thank you.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 29 August

The Beheading/Passion of John the Baptist (Memorial)

St Adelphus
St Adausia of Rome
St Alberic of Bagno de Romagna
St Basilia of Sirmium
St Candida of Rome
Bl Dominik Jedrzejewski
Bl Edmund Rice
St Edwold the Hermit
St Eufrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Eluvathingal
St Euthymius of Perugia
Bl Filippa Guidoni
Bl John of Perugia
St Louis-Wulphy Huppy
St Maximian of Vercelli
St Medericus
St Nicaeus of Antioch
St Paul of Antioch
Bl Peter of Sassoferrato
St Repositus of Velleianum
Bl Richard Herst
St Sabina of Rome
St Sabina of Troyes
Bl Sancja Szymkowiak
St Sator of Velleianum
St Sebbe of Essex
Bl Teresa Bracco
St Velleicus
St Victor of La Chambon
St Vitalis of Velleianum

Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Constantino Fernández Álvarez
• Blessed José Almunia López-Teruel
• Blessed Josep Maria Tarín Curto
• Blessed Pedro Asúa Mendía