St. John the Baptist: A martyr for the truth about marriage – Catholic World Report

Many years ago, a play came out called “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” the point being that the life of such an athlete is unique and requires a certain style of personality and stamina. In Christian Tradition, we frequently refer to John the Baptist as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus. The New Testament makes much ado about the birth of John, with equal attention given to his death. I think John receives the attention he does because, from the very beginning, he has been identified as an ideal disciple. What qualities did John possess which made him so perfect for the job? Qualities which all of us should possess if we are adequately to continue John’s tradition of bearing public witness to Jesus. John put himself and his desires in line with God’s age-old plan and purpose. So often we balk at what God wants from us because it may mean a degree of inconvenience; John put aside such considerations and even willingly accepted the reputation of a madman because of his intense pursuit of God’s commands in his life and preaching. Secondly, John believed he had been called to perform a special task, a task that was a part of God’s eternal plan. John did not try to deny the call or thwart the implementation of the plan – he cooperated. The lesson for us, especially for young people in search of a meaningful life, should be obvious. Thirdly. John was a humble pointer, with the accent on “humble.” The sign of a truly great person is that one can recognize one who is yet greater – and that was surely John. He didn’t get taken up with all the attention that was lavished on him and thus forget his goal. He remembered that his mission was to point out the Messiah to others and then to let God take over from there. Finally, John was future-oriented. He looked to the past for guidance and inspiration for the present, but he always had one foot firmly planted in the future. If he hadn’t, he would have missed Jesus who came to him out of the future, not the past. In John, God was beginning to do a brand new thing. As the Collect for his nativity puts it, John was to “make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord,” a people who knew the meaning of salvation and peace. This new thing was signified by the naming of the child who was to inaugurate this new era. The child’s naming process violated all principles of Jewish tradition for he was not named after any of his forefathers – he received a whole new identity. Secondly, his name means “gift of God,” and that is exactly what the name was and exactly what he was.

St. John the Baptist: A martyr for the truth about marriage – Catholic World Report

Leave a Reply