Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.


"Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

"Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.

"She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.

"The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,“I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6: 17.....29).

Monday 29th August 2022 of the  22nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

Who is St John the Baptist?

John is the son of Zachary and Elizabeth. When Mary visited Elizabeth, John  leapt in her mother's womb in recognition of Jesus. When he came of age, he retired to the desert to prepare for his exacting ministry. In the fullness of time, he came to the River Jordan and began preaching and baptizing people for repentance in preparation for the ministry of Jesus Christ. It was here that he condemned the adulterous life of King Herod. Herodias, the concubine of Herod took revenge on the Baptist and demanded his death when a good opportunity presented itself.

John's martyrdom is a cause of joy and hope for Christians. John died about the age of 32. Was his life in vain? Of course not. You think of the hundreds of martyrs that the Church honors every year. We honor them to remind everyone that Heaven is real for the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Hell is also real for those who reject Jesus completely.

If someone asks you:
How do you know that Heaven is real? Your answer could be among others: Look at the martyrs. Intelligent and beautiful men and women! Could they have thrown away the only life they had for nothing? Think of all the Apostles and Saints:  Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Lawrence, Edmond Campion, Paul Miki, Miguel Pro, Maximilian Kolbe and others.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28)

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