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Posted by on Jun 24, 2008

Saint of the Day: St. John the Baptist – June 24

Saint of the Day: St. John the Baptist – June 24

 

St. John the Baptist is the last of the prophets and the first of those to approach the Kingdom. He occupies a place of transition. Christ acknowledges him in a strange way in Luke 7:24-28:

When the messengers of John had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see – a reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces.
Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom scripture says: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Somehow the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John. The least are greater than this courageous prophet who spoke truth to power and was beheaded for his efforts. Aren’t those of the Kingdom not born of women? Isn’t John’s courage and faithfulness a model for all Christians? Christians are born again of water and the Holy Spirit. John announces the coming of the Lord and for all of the wonder and importance of this role, it is not as privileged as the least in the Kingdom of God.

The feast of St. John the Baptist is a time to reflect on the privilege and grace of our invitation to the Kindgom. In the earlier verses of this chapter, Jesus tells the the messengers of St. John to report to him what the signs of the Kingdom are: the blind see, the lame walk, the sick are cured.

Maybe it’s time to see where we are in the Kingdom.

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3 Comments

  1. I would have liked it if the above explained what St John said to Herod for John to be imprisoned and murdered. I wanted to send this information to a Catholic person who is planning to marry a divorced Catholic. This man knows very little about the background of Catholic history. I did send him information regarding the 6th and 9th Commandment from Father Harden’s Catechism.

  2. Frances,

    As you know Christian teaching on divorce and remarriage comes from the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels and St. Paul’s letters. St. John the Baptist denounced the marriage of Herodias to her brother-in-law Herod Antipas. Essentially, Herod Antipas wanted the wife of his brother Herod Philip. (Both were sons of King Herod.) St. John had a large following and his public opposition was destabilizing the regime of Herod Antipas according to the historian Josephus. In the New Testament, the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist was portrayed as the result of the scheming of Herodias. In the now famous scene Salome dances for Herod Antipas and gets him to promise her anything in front of all of his guests. Salome asks for the head of St. John on a platter.

    Until the 1960’s divorce and remarriage were unacceptable in most Christian denominations. We also know that the institution of marriage has developed over the centuries. The Church has granted annulments and dispensations. King Henry VIII received a dispensation to marry Catherine of Aragon the widow of his brother Arthur. As we know he was not granted a divorce so he could marry Anne Boleyn in the hopes of generating a male heir. If we look at the history of the Catholic Church in these and other situations we can see the influence of political and other forces.

    In situations of divorce and remarriage among Catholics, it is best to live up to our vocation to be Christ for others. For people to be attracted to the Church we must be helpful and supportive of the good things they are attempting to do. A lot depends on the relationship we have with the couple. Usually the best course when we want to intervene is to work under the guidance of our pastors. They can often help us bring people to a fuller living of their faith or lay the groundwork for future growth.

    I know of several situations in which family members were encouraged by priests back before Vatican II to be supportive of relatives who were divorced and remarried. In these situations, the marriages were eventually blessed by the Church and now two generations have grown up in the faith. There are many good books on Catholic marriage preparation that your pastor can recommend.

    Peace and blessings,

    Randy

  3. Frances,

    The blogging software prompts me to review incoming comments and posts by asking me to moderate them. It is similar to the function of a moderator in many parish organizations who is responsible for keeping things on track.

    Peace

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