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제목 St John Baptist(2019-12-22)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2019-12-23


St John Baptist(2019-12-22)


GOSPEL (Lk. 3:1-6). the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zachary in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

St John the Baptist


Introduction:
Let us use these remaining few days before the Nativity of Our Lord to prepare ourselves even more for the coming of the Child Jesus.  Holy Mother the Church gives us one of the greatest of saints to help us prepare, to listen to him and to follow his examples and his life so that we might be ready for the Saviour of Mankind.  What do we know about St. John the Baptist?

His Birth = He is Sanctified in the Womb of St Elizabeth at the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin (who had Our Lord in Her womb).  So that, although he was conceived with original sin, he was cleansed of all sin by a special act of Our Lord Jesus Christ before he was born.

Can we not see the obvious lesson here?  Our sinful souls, the damages of Original Sin, our attachments to sin (bad habits etc) can be cleansed by the proximity to Our Lord Jesus Christ, by asking Our Lady to bring Our Lord close to us and to heal us by His power.

His Early Life = He leads the life of a penitential hermit in the desert, praying and doing penances to sanctify himself and those who came to see him. He wears rough clothing, eats only bitter honey and insects and lives only in preparation for the coming of His Messiah. Nevertheless, "Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country about Jordan", drawn by his strong personality, went out to him; the austerity of his life added to the weight of his words; for the simple folk, he was truly a prophet "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". Men of all conditions flocked round him despite his difficult message!

Again, the lesson is clear.  Penance and sacrifice are the means to sanctify our souls and the souls of those around us. St John the Baptist did not simply complain of the problems in the world, the corruption of the clergy, the decline in moral and faith…no, on the contrary, he worked to spread the truth and to strengthen the faith through prayer, penance, and a life dedicated to the service of God.

His public message: The men of good will asked him: "What shall we do?" "And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner" (Luke 3:11). He also advocated the fulfilling one's ordinary state of life and faithfulness and honesty in the fulfillment of one's duties, and the humble confession of one's sins.

We learn here that Sanctity is not simply for those person who are capable of doing heroic sacrifices, eating insects and wearing horrible clothing!  No, St John the Baptist tells all who would listen, “Help out your neighbor in charity, do your duties of state to the best of your ability.” These are not commands that are too difficult!  Sanctity is able to be found by any man, woman or child who is generous in the service of God and neighbor…this is why Our Lord summarized all the commandments of the Old Testament into the 2 Great Commandments “Love God above all things and Love you neighbor as yourself”.

His Death: Although there are many other aspects of his life we could speak upon, let us close with the great event of his murder by Herod at the request of Herodias.  St John the Baptist is in prison because he dared to correct the impure and illegal marriage of Herod to his niece Herodias (wife of his half-brother Philip). St John publicly rebuked Herod for this act of Adultery and for this act he was put into prison. Some time later, Herod rashly promised to give Salome (daughter of Herodias) anything she wanted. She asked her mother (who hated St John for correcting her) and she told her daughter to ask Herod for the beheading of St John.

Finally, we see this great man, this great saint die in defending the sacred bond of Marriage and the dignity of husband and wife.  Truly he can be called a patron saint of the sacrament of Matrimony! We do live in a world that hates good marriages, that despises good family life,that tries to destroy those wonderful relations of the Catholic families. We must pray to him, asking him to give us the courage to be willing to die for the sacraments that God has given us.

Conclusion: My dear faithful, let us spend these following 2-3 days in prayer, penance, and preparation for this coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We must prepare a gift to give to the Christ Child…the gift of ourselves in His service, whether we serve Him in a vocation in the religious life, or in Catholic marriages.


Fr. Patrick Summers