Psalm: 102, 86
Old Testament: Jeremiah 38:1-6, Judges 16:28-30
New Testament: Revelation 7:13-17, 1 Peter 3:13-18

But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Pet 3:14-16)

While it doesn’t surprise me to be celebrating a martyr today, I’ve often wondered why St. Jean-Baptiste gets not just one day but two .

I have a sense that we do it for a few reasons.

One being that Jesus said that John was a pretty important dude. My guess is that the Church–upon hearing these words…..felt that it couldn’t be an all-together bad thing to celebrate the Forerunner twice.

More to the point though….I think that the community of the early church was very much aware of its surroundings. In a Roman pagan world, followers of the Way found themselves being persecuted, hunted and killed. So much so that Tertullian was prompted to remark that:

the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church

In remembering John’s beheading, Christ-followers found a saint who they could relate to. A saint who stood up for morality even at the cost of his own life. A saint whose life was taken away through the scheming and deceit of others.

If you were to look to the life of the saints…..which do you think speak most to the current generation??? What about in your own life????

Leave a comment on this post and let me hear what you think. +

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