Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the feast day of the Passion of St. John the Baptist, herald of the Messiah, the messenger sent by the Lord to announce the coming of His salvation into the world. On this day we commemorate the courage which this great saint had shown, in defending the truth as he had revealed to the world, to prepare the way for the coming of his Lord and God.
The Scriptures today spoke of a servant which God had chosen and had called, whom He would make His mouthpiece and judge against the nations and all the ways of the world. And this was clearly alluding to St. John the Baptist, who was the servant mentioned, who spoke up against the wickedness and the vile things of the world, including even the sins which king Herod had committed in his adulterous behaviour.
The significance of today’s celebration and remembrance of what had happened that time during when St. John the Baptist went through suffering and injustice, and eventually leading to his martyrdom, when he was beheaded in prison. He had stood up for what is true, and he did not budge even in the face of opposition. And while he rose in glory, Herod and all those who have not heeded St. John’s call were condemned to hell.
The Passion of St. John the Baptist reminds us all of just how many and how large is the opposition that will be arrayed against us, if we are all remaining faithful to the Lord our God, and if we keep our faith and our devotion, following Him in all of His ways, we shall be facing the wrath of the devil, who does not wish to see us saved and liberated from the sins which have kept us chained under his tyranny all these while.
But we truly have no need to fear or be afraid, since we who have kept our faith in God shall be protected and blessed by the Lord, and we do not need to fear those who have no power over our eternal souls. The devil may be able to harm our bodies and our physical selves, but he can do nothing to harm us in a lasting manner. For we have to remember that this worldly existence is temporary and will soon be replaced by our fate after the end of our worldly life.
St. John the Baptist led the way for us, for he did not fear opposition or oppression, fame or popularity, when he went forth to proclaim the message with which he had come into this world. He brought with him the message of truth, which although it is the truth, but for many it may seem to be something that they would refuse to admit, and something that they would rather not have.
Mankind had grown comfortable with their way of life, settling into a life of worldliness, filled with many things and actions which are often contrary to the way of the Lord, and which are even at times abominable and horrendous in the sight of both God and men. Yes, people who disregarded the sanctity of marriage, by doing what king Herod had done, living in sin with those who were not righteously and justly regarded as one’s spouse.
And there are also those who were powerful and mighty, those with influence and affluence, those who oppress the weak and those who have nothing with them. There are also those who have given themselves to the materialistic lifestyles of this world, surrendering themselves to the desires of their flesh, and desiring ever more of the good things in this world, for the pleasures of the stomach, for the sexual pleasures and other forms of lustful pleasures and many others.
On this day, we are reminded that as the disciples and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have a duty and an obligation to stand up for the truth and for our faith as St. John the Baptist had once done before us. We have to commit ourselves to help bring one another to the righteous path towards the Lord. Therefore, we must have the courage in us to remind one another when we fall into sin and are distracted on our way towards salvation.
Let us all be reminded as well that being a disciple of the Lord is not going to be easy, but is truly rewarding, for God is forever faithful and He will always bless and strengthen all those who keep their faith in Him. May Almighty God bless us and awaken in us the spirit to love one another and to help one another to remain truly faithful to the Lord, as St. John the Baptist had once done, and abandoning all forms of worldliness and sin. God be with us all. Amen.