There was a man named John who was sent from God. He came to testify to the light. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light (Jn 1:6-8).
Today’s feast day is the obligatory memorial of the beheading of the glorious forerunner and precursor, John the Baptizer.
As is my custom, I usually serve as deacon at the morning Mass on feast days and solemnities. On very rare occasions I do it for a memorial.
I did it today to testify to the one who testified to the light. John was not the light, Jesus was. Chris was not the Precursor, John was. But every deacon ought to model themselves after John – we must be a voice crying out in the wilderness, “prepare the way of the Lord.”
John the Baptist is very close to me. He is the saint that I chose some 21 years ago as my confirmation patron. I didn’t even know exactly why I chose John, but I’m glad I did.
Throughout my years, I’ve admired John so very much. For these reasons:
- Boldness – proclaiming the truth regardless of the consequences
- Purity – lived on a simple diet and refrained from alcohol
- Humility – “I am not worthy to untie his sandal straps. . . ”
- Bravery – glorified our Lord Jesus even in his martyrdom
As I proclaimed the Gospel reading this morning, I shuddered as I read the words of his beheading.
There is something incredibly sickening about cutting off a human being’s head. Maybe that’s why terrorists use such a horrible method to strike fear in the mid-East. In some ways the wickedness and evil in some people hasn’t changed much from Palestine 2,000 years ago. Pray for the conversion of such ones. And pray for peace.
Pray for us, holy and glorious Forerunner – help us grown in boldness, purity, humility, & bravery.