Hope all is well on this hot “Feast Day/Nativity of Saint John the Baptist” – who, along with my all-time favorite saint – St. Francis of Assisi and my all-time favorite “non-saint” mentor – Henry David Thoreau – was one of the greatest inspirations for me to move out to the country and design and build a customized Log Home on seven acres of land with my own Walden Pond. Yes, these three incredible men inspired me to “live my life deliberately – to be a bold voice crying out in the wilderness”.
A voice crying out to stop the madness – to put an end to the intrinsic evils that attack our beloved Church & Country every day of the year. How many of us have ever been “accused” or referred to as a “Modern Day St. John the Baptist”? How many of us have ever heard that expression?
Being called a “Modern Day St. John the Baptist” is probably one of the greatest compliments a Christian could ever receive as the Blessed Mother Teresa prayerfully said back in Calcutta in 1990: “We are all called to be saints”. Saint John Paul II constantly told us “Be Not Afraid”. And, friends, being referred to as a Modern Day St. John the Baptist and being not afraid to live your life like he did is as great a compliment as one can receive.
And, one that inspires me to do what I try to do 7 days a week as a Christian. We are all called to be saints and being baptized a Christian, like the majority of us who are reading this e-mail have been – our “job description” as a Christian is just that – a follower of Jesus Christ. And, nobody did it better than the bold Saint John the Baptist, as he had to move to the side and play “role reversal”…and, he did it with tremendous humility.
As the Bible tells us, Saint John the Baptist was already doing somersaults in his beloved mother, Elizabeth’s stomach even before he was born. He was already “leaping for joy” in his mom’s womb before her due date. (Could you imagine doing a sonogram of baby John way back when and seeing this energetic creation doing somersaults)? Little did baby John know that his beloved aunt was carrying his cousin, who 33 years later, would have the entire world doing somersaults when he was crucified, died – and rose from the dead.
And, that is how these two cousins made history. John was born first – became a Rock Star in his own right – while baptizing hundreds in the River Jordan. They came from far and wide to see this “way-ahead-of-his-time” prophet who lived out in the desert, eating locusts and honey, while wearing sandals and some pretty wild animal skin outfits. John the Baptist was out there – a modern day hippie type, who was filled with the Holy Spirit and a great dose of humility as he knew that he was just setting the stage for greater things to come…His younger, even more humbler cousin, Jesus.
Behold the Lamb of GOD…Yes, John the Baptist baptized Jesus and then declared that he was making room for the real Messiah – He who takes away the sins of the world. It was the humility and respect that John had for Jesus that truly allowed the Chosen One to not only baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – but, to change the entire world for good – and 2,000 years later – several billion people all over the world continue to follow Him…The rest is His-story.
Once again, how many of us resemble anything that Saint John the Baptist accomplished during his short but significant lifetime? How many of us are willing to humbly take a step back from the spotlight and allow Him to increase while we decrease? How many of us are literally willing to put our necks on the line for the Savior of the world, doing it all for His Greater Glory? It may cost you your head – but, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friends”…
Now, if we all claim to be followers of Jesus Christ – as well as his beloved cousin, John the Baptist – can we all focus on laying down our lives to protect the most vulnerable – the unborn? Can we focus on laying down our lives for our beloved school children and save them from the Curse of Common Core? Can we focus on laying down our lives in order to save the Blessed Sacrament of Holy Matrimony? Can we focus on laying down our lives in fighting for our Religious Freedom and truly getting in the trenches to fight for our beloved Catholic Church – at all costs?
How many of us are willing to lay down our lives for Jesus, His Church and our country – and be accused of being a “Modern Day Saint John the Baptist”?
May God bless us on this most significant Feast Day/Nativity of Saint John the Baptist and give us the courage to not only be a voice crying out in the wilderness – but the boldness to lay it all on the line for another!
May we all have the courage and humility of Saint John the Baptist – while heeding Saint John Pal II’s plea of “Be Not Afraid!”
Please read this reflection on Saint John the Baptist:
This feast, a segment of Advent in the season of Ordinary Time, makes us aware of the wonderful inner relationship between the sacred mysteries; for we are still in the midst of one Church year and already a bridge is being erected to the coming year of grace.
Ordinarily the Church observes the day of a saint’s death as his feast, because that day marks his entrance into heaven. To this rule there are two notable exceptions, the birthdays of Blessed Mary and of St. John the Baptist. All other persons were stained with original sin at birth, hence, were displeasing to God. But Mary, already in the first moment of her existence, was free from original sin (for which reason even her very conception is commemorated by a special feast), and John was cleansed of original sin in the womb of his mother. This is the dogmatic justification for today’s feast. In the breviary St. Augustine explains the reason for today’s observance in the following words:
“Apart from the most holy solemnity commemorating our Savior’s birth, the Church keeps the birthday of no other person except that of John the Baptist. (The feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin had not yet been introduced.) In the case of other saints or of God’s chosen ones, the Church, as you know, solemnizes the day on which they were reborn to everlasting beatitude after ending the trials of this life and gloriously triumphing over the world.
“For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. But for John the day of his birth, the day on which he began this mortal life is likewise sacred. The reason for this is, of course, that the Lord willed to announce to men His own coming through the Baptist, lest if He appeared suddenly, they would fail to recognize Him. John represented the Old Covenant and the Law. Therefore he preceded the Redeemer, even as the Law preceded and heralded the new dispensation of grace.”
In other words, today’s feast anticipates the feast of Christmas. Taking an overall view, we keep during the course of the year only two mysteries, that of Christ’s Incarnation and that of His Redemption. The Redemption mystery is the greater of the two; the Incarnation touches the human heart more directly. To the Redemption mystery the entire Easter season is devoted, from Septuagesima until Pentecost; and likewise every Sunday of the year, because Sunday is Easter in miniature.