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Feb 07th
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Written by Bobby Reyes   
Saturday, 29 August 2009 10:53
THE MARTYRDOM OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST Memorial St John the Baptist is the only saint who is honoured by the Church on both the occasion of his birth and of his death. Christ’s Precursor teaches every one of us by his example of heroic fortitude to fulfil God’s Will in our lives no matter what the obstacles may be. The fortitude of St John the Baptist. Lord, I shall expound your law before kings and not fear disgrace; I shall ponder your decrees, which I have always loved (Entrance Antiphon: Ps 118:46-47). The Church celebrates the birth of St John the Baptist on June 24. Today, she commemorates his dies natalis, the day of his death. King Herod, as St Mark calls him, ordered his execution. Herod is one of the most pitiful individuals in the Gospel. He ruled during Christ’s years of preaching and his manifestation as the awaited Messiah, and had even met the Saviour’s precursor. Behold the Lamb of God the Baptist told some of his own disciples. Herod also used to enjoy hearing him speak (Mark 6:17-20). He could have met Christ, whom he longed to see in person, but he committed the enormous injustice of beheading the one entrusted with the mission of pointing him out. Immoral habits and evil passions led him to the awful crime. Moreover, they prevented him from perceiving Truth. When he finally did meet Christ face to face he blasphemously proposed the Lord of heaven and earth entertain him and his friends with a miracle (Luke 23:6-9). St John the Baptist preached what specific individuals needed to hear, given their particular circumstances in society. He spoke to common townspeople, publicans, soldiers (Luke 3:10-14), Pharisees and Saducees (Matt 3.7-12), and even to Herod him self. Through his humble and austere example of integrity, he affirmed his testimony concerning the arrival of the Messiah (John 1:29;36-37). The Baptist told Herod: It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18). He had no fear of the great and powerful, nor did he give importance to their threats. He bore in his heart God’s counsel to the prophet Jeremiah which we recall in the First Reading of the Mass today: Brace yourself for action. Stand up and tell them all I command you. Do not be dismayed at their presence, or in their presence I will make you dismayed. I, for my part, will make you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, and a wall of bronze to confront the whole land: The kings of Judah, its princes, its priests and the country people will fight against you, but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you (Jer 1:17-19). The Lord asks fur our fortitude in everyday things. He wants our exemplary life and words to be a simple wit ness of our love for Christ and for his Church without our ever giving in to fear or human respect. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com) To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email info@defensoresfide The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at www.defensoresfidei .com.

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