Tag Archives: St John the Baptist

Distinguished from Christ

the BaptistWe have arrived at Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent. It’s a short time before the celebration of the Lord’s Nativity. In both forms of the sacred Liturgy we encounter the Lord’s cousin, Saint John the Baptist. The supreme lesson the Baptist teaches is that we are not Jesus, which seems obvious to say but in reality so many think they are the messiah and therefore do not live in humility. Here is an excerpt from a meditation by Saint Augustine on the Prophet Saint John the Baptist:

“What does to prepare the way mean, except to pray as you ought, to be humble-minded? Take an example of humility from John himself. He is thought to be the Christ, but he says he is not what people think. He does not use the mistake of others to feed his own pride. Suppose he had said: I am the Christ. How easily would he have been believed, since that was what people were thinking before he spoke! But he did not say it. He acknowledged who he was, distinguished himself from Christ, humbled himself.”

Passion of John the Baptist

Passion of John the BaptistToday, the Churches of East and West, liturgically celebrate the Beheading of the Holy and Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.

The biblical narrative is related in Mark 6: 17-29.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!

Seeking the “one who is greater”

Prophet John the BaptistToday, we locate ourselves in the second week of Advent. (I hope I am more centered this week than I was last.) The Church hears from the Lord’s cousin, the Forerunner and Prophet John the Baptist in the gospel reading. Saint John is rather mysterious and yet he’s an attractive figure who has the unique work of pointing us to the Kingdom of God unfolding in front of us; he also points out the Messiah. That’s exactly what we attempt to do within the various communities to which we belong: family, parish, religious, work, and social.

The mature Christian (or the one who takes his or her spiritual life we seriousness) takes up the Baptist’s work of doing what he did: bring others to the Lord. Each with his own work. The outward role in salvation history of Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna are very different, as is with John the Baptist, but also with each one of us sharing the Good News.

We seek and serve  and love “one who is greater than us.”

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Naming of St John BaptistChrist is the completion of the law for righteousness unto every one that believes. … For this reason the blessed Baptist is brought forward, as one who had attained the foremost place in legal righteousness, and to a praise so far incomparable. And yet even thus he is ranked as less than one who is least: “for the least, He says, is greater than he in the kingdom of God.” But the kingdom of God signifies, as we affirm, the grace that is by faith, by means of which we are accounted worthy of every blessing, and of the possession of the rich gifts which come from above from God. For it frees us from all blame; and makes us to be the sons of God, partakers of the Holy Ghost, and heirs of a heavenly inheritance.

St. Cyril of Alexandria
Sermon XXXVIII [Commentary on Luke]

The Passion of Saint John the Baptist

As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven. In the words of Scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality. We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendor of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.

Saint Bede the Venerable
Office of Readings

In an era where nihilism is prevalent, hearing that someone is full of hope for immortality is striking. What does Saint Bede mean? We know from experience that the life we live is full of contradictions and divisions in mind and heart. But we have today a man who knows his humanity and the truth of a promise that only Someone else can make good. Losing one’s head in this world allows for the soul to truly live in the next.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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