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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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Martyrdom of
St. John the Baptizer

Jeremiah 1:17-19
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
Mark 6:17-29

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react or act?

"Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them." —Jeremiah 1:17

Often we feel paralyzed by fear. Many people, for instance, may have been called to tell Herod: "It is not right for you to live with your brother's wife" (Mk 6:18), but were afraid and therefore spiritually paralyzed. We hear of only John the Baptizer calling Herod and Herodias to repent.

Often we feel paralyzed by trauma. After Jesus heard of John's brutal death, He naturally didn't want to do anything except get away for a while (see Mt 14:13). However, the crowds followed Jesus. "When He disembarked and saw the vast throng, His heart was moved with pity, and He cured their sick" (Mt 14:14). Few would have reached out to heal others when they were hurting so badly themselves, but Jesus refused to be paralyzed by the trauma of Herod's murder of John.

Does anything in your life shut you up when you're called to "speak the truth in love" (Eph 4:15, our transl.)? Does anything shut you down when you should be taking bold initiatives in evangelization and ministry? By God's grace, don't let fear, trauma, or even Satan keep you from doing His will. The Lord commands: "Stand up and tell them all that I command you" (Jer 1:17). The Lord promises: "They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you" (Jer 1:19). Stand, speak, walk, run, live, die, rise.

Prayer:  Father, make me an activist in Your sense of the word.

Promise:  "My mouth shall declare Your justice, day by day Your salvation." —Ps 71:15

Praise:  Heedless of the consequences he might endure, St. John the Baptizer fearlessly spoke the truth even to the king who would not hear it.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Fear of the Lord and Evangelization on audio AV 59-3 or video V-59.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012

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