The zealous and courageous St. John the Baptist announces the Messiah and offers dire warnings to men. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Piety so he can be inspired by the Prophets and by growing in the Virtue of Courage so he can more fully imitate the heroic Courage and Zeal of St. John the Baptist.
Jews in the darkness of the 1st century knew that evil rulers had suppressed the faith in God and ruled with coercion and tyranny, including the Romans (wicked Tiberius/Pilate), Roman puppets (Herod, Philip, Lysanias) and the Jewish ruling elite (Caiphas, Annas). Into the period of hopeless enslavement by forces which worshiped false gods, John the Baptist is miraculously born to an elderly and barren couple to announce the coming of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.
The last of the Old Testament Prophets, John the Baptist lived an austere and rugged life in the wilderness, and like the great prophet Elijah, preached by the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:6-11), wore similar clothing (2 Kings 1:8) and fasted (Mk 2:18). To announce Jesus to the world, John the Baptist attracted a large audience of Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding area. John the Baptist zealously preached the need to repent from, and confess, sins, to receive the baptism of water for repentance, and to bear the good fruit of a holy life. Jesus confirms (Mt 11:14) that John the Baptist also fulfills the prophesied return of Elijah (Mal 4:5).
Isaiah, the great martyred prophet (was sawn in half) who lived 700 years before the birth of Jesus, inspired by the Holy Spirit, accurately foresees that the coming of the Messiah will be announced by one who is “crying in the wilderness”, saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord…” Omitted from the Liturgy (v 7-9), John insults and condemns some of the idly curious, mocking them as “vipers” and warning them that simply being Jews will not lead to salvation; only faith and good works (good fruit) will save them from Hell (the fire).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, Son of God, with Divine Knowledge and Power, prepares for His public ministry through John the Baptist: He creates and inspires Isaiah to give prophecy of John the Baptist centuries before his birth; He creates the great prophet Elijah who John the Baptist imitates; He causes John to be miraculously conceived; He inspires John with wisdom and fortitude to take on the mission to announce His coming.
Be inspired by the Prophets
Realize: Since the fall of Adam in Eden, great prophets have been raised up to call and give hope to all those who long to be reunited with God.
Believe: Reflect upon the great prophets Isaiah (CCC 497, 712, 714, 1502) and Elijah (CCC 523, 554-555, 696-697, 2582, 2595).
Pray: Almighty and most Gracious Father, Creator of the Prophets, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I am filled with gratitude, love and veneration for the prophets You created and raised up so that I might be saved by You.
Imitate the Heroic Courage and Zeal of John the Baptist
Realize: Many men are lukewarm or disinterested in Jesus because they been presented with a false de-masculinized Jesus Who is soft, weak, non-confrontational, Who never says a word that causes discomfort, never makes tough demands, never condemns sin, or never warns unrepentant sinners about Hell; John the Baptist (manly, survivalist, powerful, courageous, zealous, magnetic) would never have followed a false de-masculinized Jesus.
Believe: Reflect upon John the Baptist (CCC 486, 523, 535, 608, 678, 696, 717-720, 1223).
Pray: Jesus, Heroic and Fearless King, help me build the Virtue of Courage (a part of Fortitude) so I can fearlessly imitate John the Baptist, I persevere with great courage to zealously proclaim Your Gospel to the world, and I can heroically and joyfully endure rejection and persecution by those who hate You.