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IHS

Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (Fifth Sunday after Pentecost)—24 June A.D. 2018
Ave Maria!

 

Ordinary of the Mass
Latin Text
English Text

 

 

Free Tommy Robinson !!

 

Epistle: Isaias xlix 1-3, 5, 6, 7

A reading from the Prophet Isaias:   Give ear, ye islands, and harken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, and from the bowels of my mother He has been mindful of my name. And He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has protected me, and has made me as a chosen arrow; in His quiver He has hidden me. And He has said to me, "You are my servant Israel, for in you will I glory." And now the Lord who formed me from the womb to be His servant says: "Behold I have given you to be the light of the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth. Kings shall see, and princes shall rise up, and adore for the Lord's sake, and for the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

Gospel: Luke i 57-68

X
The Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

Elizabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified His mercy towards her, and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him by his father's name, Zachary. And his mother answered and said, “Not so, but he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.” And they kept inquiring by signs of his father what he would have him called. And asking for a writing tablet, he wrote the words, “John is his name.” And they all marveled. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed. and he began to speak, blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbors; and all these things were spoken abroad in all the hill country of Judea. And all who heard them laid them up in their heart saying, “What then will this child be?”  For the hand of the Lord was with him. And Zachary, his father, was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israël, because he has visited and wrought redemption for his people.”

 

 

In the first nocturne of the night Office we read the words of God to the Prophet Jeremias:

“Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother,
I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb,
I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.”
[1]

Saint John the Baptist is one of three people born without original sin—Jesus and His blessed Mother, of course, being the other two.  These same three are the only ones who have feast days assigned to their days of birth—while the other saints are generally celebrated on their day of death.

Earlier in Saint Luke’s Gospel we read that “when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”[2]  Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist—and Mary, having just conceived Jesus, had made the arduous trip to help her cousin Elizabeth, who was about six months along in her pregnancy.  The mere presence of the unborn Jesus brought about John and Elizabeth’s sanctification.  In today’s Gospel we read that John’s father, the priest Zachary, was also filled with the Holy Ghost and began to prophesy the redemption of God’s people.  “What would this child be?” asked some of the guests.  “And thou, child [John], shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:”[3]  Together with Jesus Christ, John would be a key player in the redemption of the human race!

The Jewish priesthood was hereditary—passed from father to son—and John could have taken a place with his father in the Temple.  He could have enjoyed a reasonably good standard of living by taking his turn at the priestly ministry, and would have been treated as a man of some importance.  Instead, he fled to the desert and a life of solitude: “the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit; and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”[4]

John’s sanctification in the womb of his mother, and his reception of the priesthood from his father were two gratuitous gifts—that is that he received these two through the generosity of God and not through any effort of his own.  What he himself did with his life thereafter is worthy of note.

Saint Matthew tells us that “John had his garment of camels' hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey.”[5]  John is sometimes compared to the prophets of the Old Testament—particularly to Elias—both in his ascetic lifestyle, and in his efforts for the salvation of souls.[6]  Jesus was just about to start His public life and we still find John in the desert near the Jordan River:

Under the high priests Annas and Caiphas; the word of the Lord was made unto 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….”[7]

John preached to and baptized the crowds around the Jordan—but also One far more important.  John tells us himself:

And I knew Him not; but He who sent me to baptize with water, said to me: He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, he it is that baptizes with the Holy Ghost.  And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God.[8]

Andrew had been John’s disciple, but now he began to follow Jesus, and he ran to his brother, Simon Peter, to tell him:  “We have found the Messias, [we have found] the Christ.”[9]

John was the “precursor” or fore-runner of Jesus, yet John continued to preach the truth—perhaps even more boldly after encountering the Christ.  Celebrated almost as much as his Baptism of Jesus is John’s daring to preach to King Herod Antipas:

“It is not lawful to have thy brother's wife!”  Herod himself sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his [living] brother, because he had married her.[10]

“It is not lawful!”  Notice that adultery, being forbidden by the sixth Commandment, was enough for this man from the desert to challenge a King. And notice that there was no talk about circumstances!  John did not ask whether Philip had perhaps rejected the woman, or whether Philip had been physically violent, or emotionally abusive.  There was no attempt made to “discern” some “merciful” way out.  “It is not lawful!” was enough for this preacher of truth to put his life on the line.

This man, John, who had been favored by God through his mother and his father, had of his own doing and good example, prepared many to do penance and to receive the Baptism of water and the Holy Ghost.  And fearlessly, of his own doing, he had become a martyr for the truth of God’s commandments.

Like John, we have also received gratuitous gifts of grace from almighty God.  Let us pray that through John’s intercession, we may be preachers of the truth by our own actions and good examples.  Through John’s intercession, may we come to realize that truth is the supreme good—a good so valuable that, if necessary, we would lay down our lives for it!

 

 

 

 


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