Friday 22nd May 2015

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John The Baptist

August 26, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Thousands of years before the time of Christ, the Pharaoh of Egypt held the children of Israel in bondage. Our Lord proved His love for them when Moses led them out of Egypt. When Mary was carrying Jesus, she and Joseph, because of an imperial decree, had to travel to Bethlehem in order to be counted in the census. The Feast of the Holy Innocents commemorates the martyrdom of the boys under two years of age who were martyred by Herod for fear of the King of the Jews who might take his place.
Even Jesus was condemned by the secular government, which was all part of God’s plan. A few years before Jesus died, John the Baptist was beheaded, all because of the uncontrolled passions of another Herod. On August 29, the Catholic Church honors the beheading of John the Baptist.
St. Luke describes the conception and presentation of John the Baptist in detail in his Gospel. Except for Jesus alone, the birth of no other person in the New Testament received so much attention.
Zachariah, a priest from the division of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, had no children. Being beyond the age of childbearing, they had no human hope of ever having any. However, when Zachariah entered the sanctuary of the holy of holies to burn incense, an angel appeared to him, telling him that Elizabeth would conceive a child and they should call him John.
Six months later, when the angel announced to Mary that she would bear the Son of God, the angel confirmed his tidings by informing Mary of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Without hesitation, Mary hastened to assist Elizabeth, her cousin, in the time of her confinement. The moment Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, John leapt in the womb of Elizabeth. Catholic tradition has held that since Mary was full of grace, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and John leapt in the womb, and that he was freed from the stain of original sin three months before his birth.
Even when the angel told Zachariah to “be not afraid” and informed him of the great role John would play and the joy he would bring by his holiness, Zachariah remained skeptical of the tidings. Because he doubted, the angel struck him mute until the day that John was presented in the Temple and was given his name. When Zachariah confirmed that John was his name, he immediately received his ability to speak again.
In chapter 3 of his Gospel, Luke described John the Baptist and his interactions with people from various walks of life. John urged them to repent and be baptized whether they were peasants, publicans, soldiers, or rich people. He further instructed them to perform acts of charity, such as sharing their tunics.
When the crowds began to wonder about his role in God’s plan, they asked him if he was the Christ, to which John responded: “I indeed baptize you with water. But one mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16). Of course, John was referring to Jesus.
As the time approached for Jesus to begin His ministry, He went to John in the River Jordan to be baptized along with the other people. John, recognizing who Jesus was, deferred and said it was Jesus who should be baptizing John. Nevertheless, our Lord told him to do it.
As John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove and the Father spoke of His delight in Jesus. After this event Jesus went to the desert for 40 days, while John continued to preach against those who disobeyed God’s law as well as urging both repentance for sins and Baptism.
One of the persons John reproved for breaking the law and living in sin was Herod the tetrarch. Herodias, the woman with whom he was committing adultery, pressured him to arrest John because he preached against their affair. Thus, once again the government was at odds with those seeking to do the will of God. To those steeped in sin, those who seek to be holy are a rebuke to their lifestyles, whether or not they actually say anything.
Hence, sinners seek not only to silence the men of God, but also to gain their approval. Herodias, enraged by John’s criticism, sought his murder even though Herod did not want to put John to death. He knew the people liked to listen to John, and considered him a holy and righteous man preparing the way of the Lord. In fact, Herod liked to listen to John, too.
While John was in prison, his followers came to tell John about Jesus. They questioned the work that Jesus was doing in relation to what John had done. Then John sent them to Jesus to ask Him if He was the Messiah. His response was to instruct them to tell John to look at His works. When they left to carry out His orders, Jesus addressed the crowd, telling them about John: “Amen I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11).
Not surprisingly, Herodias plotted to have John beheaded. She found her opportunity when Herod had his birthday celebration with many dignitaries present. Knowing the depravity of Herod, she sent her daughter to dance for him and catch him in his weakness. Greatly pleased with her dance and letting his passions rule him, he promised the girl whatever she wanted.
Little did he consider what she would ask of him: “I want thee right away to give me on a dish the head of John the Baptist” (Mark 6:25). Stunned by her vulgar request and by her daring to voice such barbarity, he nonetheless had to acquiesce in it in order to keep his word.
As always happens, rulers are not only in conflict with the People of God, but they put one of them to death.
The normal state of the Church is persecution — our Lord told us it would be. For the last 2,000 years, Christians have paid the price for following Christ. Nothing has changed as we witness the many atrocities and even beheadings of innocent children. However, we rejoice in knowing, by the example and witness of the martyrs, that God not only provides the grace for final perseverance, but also bestows great joy on those who remain faithful to His call in this life as well as the next.
Dear St. John the Baptist, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance, we beg of you. Help us in our everyday trials to accept the will of God and be docile in sufferings. Day by day, help us to grow in our love of the cross so that should God ask martyrdom of us, we may joyfully and without hesitation welcome such a crown of glory. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Federal Court Forces University of Notre Dame to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

A federal appeals court has denied a request by the University of Notre Dame to get out of having to comply with the pro-abortion HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare and requires businesses and church groups to pay…Continue Reading

The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in…Continue Reading

‘Eleven Christians Killed Every Hour,’ Says Irish Bishop

According to Bishop John McAreavey, the Chair of the Council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand. The…Continue Reading

Africa’s experience of family life must be heard at synod, Pope tells Togo’s bishops

Pope Francis received Togo’s bishops in audience on May 11 as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. The West African nation of 6.8 million is 20% Muslim, 15% Protestant, and 14% Catholic, with approximately half of the…Continue Reading

The eco-encyclical won’t commit the Church to unsettled science

By the time the environment encyclical of Pope Francis is released, it will be anti-climactic. Not anti-climate change to be sure, as the Holy See is certainly enthusiastic about the issue. Actually, it is against climate change, but enthusiastic about…Continue Reading

“America’s Changing Religious Landscape.”

The Pew Research Center just released its latest study on “America’s Changing Religious Landscape.” The subtitle tells the story: “Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow.” For our purposes, I want to focus…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal sees no change in family teachings at synod

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A senior Vatican cardinal predicted Saturday that there will be no change in the Catholic Church‘s practice and teaching about marriage, divorce and the reception of Communion at an upcoming meeting of bishops on family issues. Cardinal…Continue Reading

Synod Leader: Don’t Expect Changes in Catholic Church Policy

Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo, who is playing a key role in the Catholic Church’s upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family, said there will be no changes in church policy coming as a result of the summit. There has been…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops vote to allow Church employees to publicly defy Catholic teaching

WURZBURG, Germany, May 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — On April 27 in Würzburg, the German bishops approved with more than a two-thirds majority a reform of the Catholic Church’s Labor Law in Germany, allowing some Church employees to publicly defy Church…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cupich Getting Comfortable With Pro-Aborts On Immigration Reform

True to his claim that immigration reform is “God’s agenda,” Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has been cozying up to pro-abortion Democrats to get his social justice initiatives underway.  On Sunday, the Archbishop joined Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Il), a…Continue Reading

Pope’s doctrine chief under attack as he takes strong stand for marriage and family

muller

ROME, May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Francis’ top advisor on Catholic doctrine is coming under attack as he continues to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage, family, and sexuality amid a campaign by a “progressive” faction of prelates. On…Continue Reading

Obama Admin. Denies Visa to Nun Pleading For Persecuted Iraqi Christians – Will Media Cover?

The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea spotlighted the plight of a Catholic sister, who was denied entry to the U.S. by the Obama administration, in a Thursday item for National Review. She noted how “every member of an Iraqi delegation of…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

At the General Audience Francis asks that fathers and mothers take back their full role as educators

2015-05-21 L’Osservatore Romano “It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – for they have exiled themselves from bringing up their children – and to fully resume their educational role”. This was the Pope’s declaration at the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 20 May. Continuing his series of catecheses on the family, he spoke to the crowds – many of them families – about the importance of parents as educators. The…Continue Reading

Pope’s appeal for World Day of Prayer for Church in China

(Vatican Radio) At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis made a special appeal for prayer for Catholics in China.   The Holy Father’s appeal comes ahead of Sunday’s feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, celebrated throughout the world on May 24. Chinese Catholics have a special devotion to Mary, Help of Christians, whose feast day is marked with special devotions and pilgrimages, especially to the National Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. In…Continue Reading

General Audience: Parents’ Vocation To Educate Children

pope784

(Vatican Radio) In his catechesis at the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis focused on the role of parents in the education of their children, which he called “an essential characteristic” of the family. The Holy Father noted the many difficulties facing parents today, especially those who find themselves in difficult situations. He spoke especially about the difficulties of separated couples, calling on them to “never, never, never take the children hostage!” He spoke out…Continue Reading

Pope to Mideast nuns: pray for peace, persecuted

(Vatican Radio) Saying he was giving them a “mission,”  Pope Francis has asked religious sisters from Bethlehem and the Middle East to pray for peace in the region and for two new Palestinian saints. 19th century Sister Miriam of Jesus Crucified Baouardy and Sister Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas were canonized in a big outdoor Mass presided by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s square on Sunday. Many of the Carmelite and Rosary sisters who had attended the canonization had…Continue Reading

Open Letter To U.S. Bishops Attending The Synod… The Church’s Teachings On The Family Need No Updating

By MICHAEL HARTNETT (Editor’s Note: Michael Hartnett lives with his family in the Chicago area, where he works as a project manager and public policy analyst. He has authored or coauthored numerous published reports that address federal transportation, environmental, and pension and retirement policies. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Aren’t Homosexuals Born That Way?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + The most powerful weapon in the homosexual special rights arsenal is the victim status. A close second is the allegation that homosexuals are “born that way.” If scientists can show that homosexuality…Continue Reading

The Passing Of The Word “God”

By DONALD DeMARCO The Word of God will never pass away. But the word “God” continues to pass into oblivion. In some quarters the word is said to be discriminatory and offensive. Therefore, it must be removed. Atheists can be very touchy these days. Take the case of Alain Simoneau of Saguenay, Quebec. This nonbeliever…Continue Reading

Vietnam Today . . . Forty Years After The Fall Of Saigon

By LEE NGUYEN HO CHI MINH CITY (AsiaNews) — Forty years after the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the Communist Party marked its anniversary by the largest ever military parade in the South. The parade commemorated the day when Communist troops from the North captured the city and ended the Vietnam War and…Continue Reading

Former Soviet Spy . . . We Created Liberation Theology

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — Espionage deep in the heart of Europe. Secrets in the KGB. Defection from a Communist nation. Ion Mihai Pacepa has seen his share of excitement, serving as general for Communist Romania’s secret police before defecting to the United States in the late 1970s. The highest-ranking defector from Communism in the 1970s,…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Writing in the Sunday bulletin of the Church of St. Michael in New York City, Fr. George W. Rutler talked of the “web of contradiction [that] becomes more entangled in our day when politics are complicated by moral inconsistencies.” He cited three examples: “First, the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana occasioned celebrations, as the birth of any…Continue Reading

Truths Beyond Comprehension

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Solemnity Of The Most Holy Trinity (YR B) Readings: Deut. 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matt. 28:16-20 In the first reading today, we hear Moses addressing the people of Israel after their Exodus from Egypt and after they had spent much time in the desert. Moses marveled, and rightly so, that God had entered into human…Continue Reading

Pope To The Bishops Of Mozambique . . . “The Paschal Mystery Is The Beating Heart Of The Mission Of The Church”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Pope Francis on May 9 received the bishops of Mozambique who were in Rome for their ad limina visit. + + + Dear brothers in the episcopate! You are welcome ad limina Apostolorum, the purpose of the visit undertaken by you these days, so that with your dioceses in your heart, you also celebrate and strengthen…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Rules Without Relationships Foster Rebellion

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK I write this week’s column from Lourdes, France, where I have joined a pilgrimage of 200 wounded warriors, volunteers, family members, military veterans, and chaplains from the United States. Most of us are here through the gift of the Knights of Columbus which has underwritten this magnificent opportunity for prayer, evangelization, fellowship, and renewal of…Continue Reading

Apologetics Course… How Do We Get To Know The Truth?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 In the previous article we saw that our minds can apprehend the truth by our own personal experience. Now let us see the three other ways: By simply reasoning. In our days of constant Internet communication, texting, and less personal contact among people, sometimes reasoning is an ability in short supply. But it…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church in Africa has experienced unprecedented growth in the past century. In 1900, shortly after the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and companions, there were two million Catholics in Africa. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa in 2009, the Catholic population was 158 million. Once again the Church has witnessed that the blood of martyrs is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Philip Neri

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church when great persecutions and heresies have been promoted, there were also great saints who underwent persecution in their attempts to protect the Deposit of Faith. Such was the case in the early 16th century, when the Catholic Church was suffering her greatest crisis to date with the Protestant Revolt. During this…Continue Reading