Feast Day of the Beheading of John the Baptist

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August 29 is the feast day of the beheading of John the Baptist, the herald of Christ.  Charlton Heston, in the video clip above, gave a powerful portrayal of the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, capturing the raw courage and energy that animated John the Baptist as a result of the blazing faith he had in God.  Like Elijah, John came out of the wilderness to fearlessly proclaim the word of God, but what Elijah and the other prophets could only glimpse darkly, the coming of the Messiah, John saw with his own eyes.  The last and greatest of the prophets, John fulfilled the role of Elijah as proclaimed by the prophet Malachi:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.

Saint John the Baptist is a standing rebuke to all Catholics who become lukewarm in the Faith and are simply going through the motions.  In Christ, the Creator of the Universe came to us, walked among us as one of us, and died for us.  Our reaction to those astonishing facts should always be a faith as zealous as that shown by the Baptist unto death.



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  1. St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

    St. John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s, St. Elizabeth’s, womb when the Blessed Virgin greeted her.

    The Second Joyful Mystery: the Visitation. I desire Charity toward my neighbor. Contemplate Mary’s charity in visiting her cousin, St. Elizabeth, and remaining with her for three months before the birth of St. John the Baptist.

  2. Was St. John the Baptist the Last Prophet, or the First Apostle? I think a case can be made for both.

  3. ……”As for you, little child, you shall be called a prophet of God the Most High.
    You shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before Him.”……..

    From the Benedictus – the canticle of Zecharia.

  4. I have heard it argued that John, far from being the precursor of the Christ, was the leader of a sect inimical to that of Jesus. I prefer to go by Scripture. Richard Strauss’s opera Salome, for all its sensuousness, is a profoundly religious work.

  5. John the Baptist wound up in jail for his prophetic role. While there he began to doubt what he formerly knew, that Jesus was the Messiah. He asked whether Jesus was the one or if another one was coming. Then he was beheaded. To follow Christ is to bear a daily cross and to be taken places we don’t always want to go. Frightening yet glorious. For John it ended in martyrdom.

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