The Holy Catholic Church honors the Passion of St. John the Baptist. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Courage so he can more fully oppose evil and defend the innocent and by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can always seek the intercession of the Saints to help him in the daily spiritual combat. 

Liturgy

Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist – August 29 – Mk 6:17-29

Commentary

After murdering John the Baptist, Herod the Tetrarch is full of anxiety and absurdly wonders if John has reincarnated as Jesus; Herod, enslaved in evil, is swayed by every anxiety, unable to receive the peace and joy of Jesus because of his unbelief. 

John the Baptist was a powerful prophet of miraculous birth who lived an austere and rugged life in the desert. John courageously came to Herod and condemned Herod’s incestuous marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias, as unlawful; Herod silences John by locking him up in a dank prison cell.  Herod was a vile man with a corrupt character: he had an adulterous and incestuous relationship with his brother’s wife, Herodias, who was also Herod’s niece; he, prideful, drunk and lustful, made a ridiculous oath to the young daughter of Herodias, his grand-niece, as she seductively danced; cowardly, unwilling to break his lust oath, he beheaded the innocent John the Baptist. Grotesquely, he had John the Baptist’s head brought on a platter to his birthday feast for the amusement of the evil Herodias and his guests. Herod is an anti-Christ who will collude with Pilate to crucify Jesus during Passion Week. 

After Herod beheaded St. John the Baptist (A.D. 31 or 32), the Baptist’s disciples buried John’s body in a tomb (Mt 14:12) which became a Catholic parish, later occupied by conquering Muslims and converted into the Nabi Yahya Mosque, now in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Relics of John’s body are also venerated in several other locations in the Middle East. Tradition holds that John the Baptist’s head is located at the Basilica of San Silvestro in Capite in Rome where it continues to be venerated. St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of baptism. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by Jesus, Son of Man, who causes great anxiety in evil men because of His Divine Presence, Power and miraculous acts: Herod the Great is so fearful of the newborn Jesus that, he “Slaughters the Innocents”; Herod the Tetrarch, one of Herod the Great’s sons, is deeply troubled by Jesus, and His forerunner, John the Baptist.

Grow in courage to oppose evil and defend the innocent

Realize: Like the evil murderous Herod, governments, some religions, political activists and so called “social justice” movements, continue to use intimidation, coercion, physical and property attacks, violence, terror and even murder to promote their evil agendas in society and to persecute and silence Christ’s Holy Catholic Church; every Catholic man is called to courageously confront the evil violent acts against the Truth of Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.

Believe: Reflect upon the Virtue of Courage/Fortitude (CCC 1805).

Pray: St. John the Baptist, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Courage (a part of Fortitude) so I reject fear and indecisiveness, I seek to imitate your heroic and manly courage, and I am always are prepared to courageously and heroically defend every person against unjust attacks and to defend the Holy Catholic Church against violence and persecution.

Seek the intercession of the Saints

Realize: In the Communion of Saints, every Catholic man is blessed to be able to strive to imitate and seek the intercession of the Saints, the greatest human beings who have ever lived. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and Patron Saints (CCC 2156, 2165).

Pray: St. John the Baptist, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I honor the Saints and I develop a veneration for those Saints who can help in my own particular struggles in the Spiritual Combat.