Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Saint John the Baptist + 29 August

On this feast day of Saint John the Baptist, the Holy Father has this to share regarding Jesus' first cousin:
The task set before the Baptist as he lay in prison was to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God's obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. John even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call for metanoia or a change of mentality, in order that he might recognize his God in the night in which all things earthly exist. Only when we act in this manner does another -- and doubtless the greatest -- saying of the Baptist reveal its full significance: 'He must increase, but I must decrease' [Jn 3:30]. We will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves.
-- Via Magnificat
Gil Bailie also notes that John, once so confrontational with Herod his earthly king, had been far different that Our Lord. "If John chased the car leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident, Jesus was the one to stay with the victim" (or words to that effect).

The greatest and last prophet, John the Baptist is a role model for modern-day prophets, yet with a difference, it seems to me. It is too easy simply to point fingers, get in-the-face of victimizers, throw stones these days. We need prophets who carry on the work of Jesus the Lord. He must increase, and He is ( ... increasing). The Gospel is at work in history. Jesus is Lord.

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