Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

8/29/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

St. John's life and death is a reminder of our true vocation as Christ's followers

As we anticipate this feast of the Church, we recognize that our life should be consumed for the sake of the Gospel. We don't even have to lose our heads, only join our hearts to His and live out our lives as devoted men and women to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/29/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: John the Baptist, evangelism, evangelization, discipleship, conversion


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On August 29 we will celebrate the Memorial of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. Seen as the last prophet of the Old Testament and the first prophet of the New, St. John has always been an icon of one who not only spoke the truth but also challenged his hearers with a call to action. He knew that truth always demanded a decision.

Like his successor, St. Paul, who described his own vocation in Galatians 1:15, John the Baptist was set apart by God from his mother's womb and called by His grace. Even before his birth, he leaped for joy as he came into the presence of the Son of God within Mary's womb.

Truly he was, as Isaiah said, one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. His burden was to awaken the people to this incredible good news, letting them know that the one for whom they had been waiting - the Messiah - would be coming soon.

St. John the Baptist also wanted to be sure that the way was prepared for His coming - recognizing the way that had to be prepared was not a road of stones and dirt, but a highway of the heart. He called for people to repent and be baptized, washed of the burdens of this life that they could hear the Words of the Master when He came.

This baptism was only a foreshadowing of the one to come in Christ's Church. While his prepared the way, the sacrament would be a conveyor of grace.

On this feast day, however, we are focused on martyrdom, his beheading. He died for the faith for which he lived. The consequences of his heralding the good news and a call to righteousness cost him his life.

He was condemned by the decree of King Herod, who himself was caught in the clutches of a vengeful wife, Herodias, formerly the wife of his brother, Philip. He was also held captive by the throws of lust toward the daughter of Herodias. The account of Herod's treachery contains more drama than a modern day soap opera.

St. John's martyrdom reminds us that the most important vocation for all Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike, is living out the Gospel. We are called to proclaim the Good News of Christ both in word and deed, which sometimes can put us in some tense situations.

Let's face it, the Gospel can become inflammatory and even more so as a culture moves farther and farther away from core values of moral living. For this reason we are reminded by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4 that we must speak the truth in love.

For several decades both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been calling upon Catholic Christians be become involved in the New Evangelization. In fact, Pope Benedict has made this the theme for World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil.

Over the years, evangelization has been stereotyped as an attempt by self-righteous individuals to impose their values on others. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Evangelization is a movement that begins in the heart, where a Christian, whose life has been given over to Jesus Christ, eagerly shares that good news of the coming of Christ and His Kingdom into the world.

The believer also wants to let all know of Christ's passion, death and resurrection which has overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. More than anything, he or she wants others to be able to participate in this glorious and wondrous relationship with the living God, the fullness of which is found in the Catholic faith.

Such a testimony doesn't come from self-righteous individuals, but those who have encountered the living Christ through His Word and Sacraments.

From the Gospel reading appointed for the Memorial in Mark 6:17-29, we read "Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him."

The King, although living a life of debauchery, felt something kindle in his heart when John preached. The truth was making an impact. As with any move of grace, the devil is quick to distract by re-ignited the fires of passion that the soul might be once again consumed with lust.

How like today, where the people who are hearing the Gospel and also being bombarded by messages laced with sensuality and images that inflame. It's no wonder they condemn the messenger as self-righteous as everything in them is being drawn away from the righteousness of God.

However we find the world, giving up on sharing the gospel is not an option. I'm an example of one who was touched by God's grace as my life was moving in the opposite direction.

Bill Bright was a Protestant minister who gave rise to the largest college movement for Christ in America as well as other parts of the world - Campus Crusade for Christ. He used to say, "success in witnessing [Ed - evangelization] is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God."

While we may not be able to control the recipient, we can prepare ourselves for the work of evangelization. The keys are found in Herod's assessment of St. John the Baptist. He was holy and righteous.

By living our faith on a daily basis, through such disciplines as prayer, reading Scripture, attending daily Mass, praying the Offices of the Church and the Rosary, we can become equipped with His love and grace for this work. Our sharing of His Gospel can come through the power of His Spirit.

Many have described the results of evangelization as being a new birth - as men and women of all ages are "born again" by water and the Spirit. How does this new birth begin? By those in the womb of life encountering the One in Mary's womb and leaping for joy.

-----

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Teen delivers powerful impromptu invocation during graduation commencement's unexpected emergency Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A high school graduate stepped up to the podium during the Clay-Chalkville High School graduation ceremony and delivered a powerful prayer, after one woman had a medical emergency. The prayer moved the audience so much that his impromptu invocation was cheered for at ... continue reading


Catholic Priest warns participants of 'Charlie Charlie' Challenge summoning a demon is no joke Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Charlie, Charlie" Challenge is a game now infamous on social media that encourage players to summon a demon. According to a Mirror Online, a Catholic priest has issued a letter warning about the dangers involved with doing such a ritual, and that the challenge is ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


Pope Francis admits to giving up TV in 1990 Watch

Image of While being in the eye of the international media, Pope Francis has little time for media. He's just too busy, and pledged not to watch TV after a pledge to the Virgin Mary in 1990.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While frequently in the media's eye, Pope Francis in fact has little time for the media. After making a promise to the Virgin Mary, the Pope claims that he has not watched TV since 1990. He did not even watch the matches of his football team San Lorenzo de ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants to be remembered as 'good guy who tried to do good' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his brief time as the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has done many remarkable things and has captured the world's attention. He came off as surprisingly humble in a recent interview with a fellow Argentinean journalist. Pope Francis says he ... continue reading


Catholics worldwide vow to get the word out on Pope Francis' message on climate change Watch

Image of Environmental advocates, working with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities, and lay movements hope that there will be a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will release his anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks. Over the past several years, more faith traditions have rallied behind environmental protection. Churches have begun to press ecological ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... continue reading


Brotherhood of the Belt: Struggle, Trouble and Failure in the Christian Life Watch

Image of The Martyrdom of Peter

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Peter's wrong choices were not the end of the story of Gods plan for his life. Peter's denial crippled Peter emotionally and spiritually. He lost his way. That was until he encountered the Risen Christ. There, in that encounter, he allowed the belt of ... continue reading


The Purpose of Pentecost is the Birth and Ongoing Mission of the Church

Image of The purpose of Pentecost is the birth - and continued rebirth - of the Church.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption, to live as a new people to lead the world back to the Father, in and through the Son. Through their experience of the Holy Spirit the early ... continue reading


Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 51:12-20
12 And therefore I shall thank you and praise you, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
8 The precepts of Yahweh are honest, joy for the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 30th, 2015 Image

St. Joan of Arc
May 30: St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter