Beheading of St John the Baptist HMemling.jpgO God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should
go ahead of your Son both in birth and in death, grant that as he died a Martyr
for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you

There is no
doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our
Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor
had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep
silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say:
“I am the truth”? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth,
he surely died for Christ. 

Through his birth, preaching and baptizing, he bore
witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own
suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer. Such was the quality and
strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his
blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace,
yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men. He was locked away in the darkness of
prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be
called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ.

Father Pius Parsch
The Church’s Year of Grace