Thought of the day
Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

Saint Bede the Venerable (c.673-735), monk, Doctor of the Church Homily 23 (Book 2); CCL 122, 354, 356-357

Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time

Commentary of the day  

Saint Bede the Venerable (c.673-735), monk, Doctor of the Church 
Homily 23 (Book 2); CCL 122, 354, 356-357
             
                   "John the Baptist, a martyr for the truth"

It is without question that Saint John the Baptist underwent imprisonment for our Redeemer's sake, whom he preceded with his witness, and that it was for him he gave his life. For even if his persecutor did not ask him to deny the Christ but to keep the truth quiet, still it was for Christ's sake that he died. Indeed, Christ himself said: “I am the truth” (Jn 14,6). Since, then, it was for the truth that he shed his blood, it was for Christ. By being born John witnessed that Christ would be born; by preaching he witnessed that Christ would preach; by baptizing that he would baptize. By his being the first to suffer his Passion he showed that Christ, too, would have to suffer...

Thus this greatest of men came to the end of his life, after a long and painful imprisonment, with the shedding of his blood and he who had proclaimed the good news of the freedom of a higher peace was thrown into prison by the ungodly. He who came to bear witness to the light was shut in the darkness of a dungeon... He who had been granted to baptize the Redeemer of the world, to hear the Father's voice speaking to Christ and to see the Holy Spirit's grace descend upon him, was baptized in his own blood.

How well the apostle Paul spoke: “To you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him” (Phil 1,29). And if he said that suffering for Christ is his gift to his chosen ones that is because, as he says elsewhere: “The sufferings of the present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us” (Rom 8,18).