The Passion of St. John the Baptist

The Passion of St. John the Baptist
Mark 6:17-29

When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

How did Saint John the Baptist get to be strong enough to speak the truth, even when he knew that it could mean the end of his life?

John constantly preached and practiced penance.  Before Jesus’ Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Saint John preached a different baptism.  Saint John preached a baptism of penance.  Like the Old Testament prophets, Saint John fasted in the desert so that he would be strong enough to speak the truth.  Keep in mind that in the Jordan River, the baptism that Jesus received was John’s baptism, not the Sacrament of Baptism.  Jesus’ received John’s baptism as a sign that His own earthly vocation would be one of penance:  the Way of the Cross.

If we practice penance in our lives—having been baptized first into Christ’s life—we will be strong enough spiritually to stand up for the Truth, who is Jesus.  With this in mind, listen very closely today to the Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer.

There are five saints—the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Joseph, and Saints Peter and Paul—who have their own prefaces.  In the preface that is prayed today, listen especially to its account of John’s last and greatest act of witness to Jesus.  With this is mind, receive Holy Communion today while asking Jesus to allow the Eucharist to help you be a more authentic witness to Jesus.

John the Baptist head

Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist by Bernardino Luini (c. 1480-1532)