August 29, 2020

Passion of Saint John the Baptist

God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong.

John the Baptist was hardly born in a palace or a wealthy family. Yet, his influence and importance in the history of salvation were enormous. The last prophet of the Old Testament, the forerunner of the Messiah, was killed by a corrupt king who gave in to lust, and grandiosity. John never stopped bearing witness to the truth. He also had the eyes to see that truth was fully revealed in Jesus, the one whom he proclaimed the “Lamb of God.” He was stirred by conscience and the Holy Spirit to throw convention to the wind—and he paid dearly for it.

Calling rulers to repentance can be a risky business. Instead of bringing about conversion, it could very quickly bring about our death. Christian counter-cultural moral teaching may not bring about deaths, though it still does in many parts of the world. In cultures like ours, the temptation is to say nothing that challenges the relativism, the attitude of “you do what you want; I’ll do what I want” that rules our nation. But John would not be silenced. And neither should we.

Today as ever before, the Church and the world needs the witness of faith and commitment. That’s where we all come in. So, let John the Baptist’s example of integrity and willingness to speak to power inspire us to be equally committed to speaking out for peace and justice in our world. In each Eucharist, we also have Jesus’ example of a life of integrity and commitment to revealing the truth of God. Our “amen” at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer pledges us to be equally committed to doing the same.

Let Us Pray:

O loving Jesus, give me the courage to live a life, not for my own comfort, but to continue your work in our world. May I work for justice in a selfish and hedonistic world.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.