Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute


Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

February 7, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry


We are all familiar with the story of how John the Baptist died.  In reflecting on today’s Gospel I asked myself, “What does the life and death of John the Baptist say to me?”  The first thing I realized about John is how would any one turn his back on a life of privilege and embrace a life of poverty and pain.

John was born to parents who were quite elderly.  It must have been difficult for them to take care of a baby and to raise a son.  His father, Zechariah, had duties as a priest in the temple and was probably away much of the time.  So much of his upbringing was left to his mother Elizabeth, cousin to Mary, Mother of Jesus.  John and Jesus could not have seen each other very often as children since John lived in Judea and Jesus liven in Galilee.  So these, and many other factors, probably contributed to a less than ideal childhood for John.  We could assume that both of John’s parents died before he reached adulthood.  As an adult he went to the desert of Judea which is west of the river Jordan and lived by himself as a hermit for some years.  We know that his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey, and he clothed himself in camel’s hair garments tied together with a leather belt.  John was a loner.

When he began to baptize people his message was not always a welcome one to his listeners.  He called the people to task for their sins and to repent.  So, he ran afoul of King Herod and when he condemned the king for marrying his brother’s wife, as was described very clearly in today’s Gospel narrative, he was put to death.

From a human standpoint John’s life was not a great life.  He does not appear to have had the happiness and comfort that most of us crave in our lives.  And yet John played a major role in “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”  The story of our salvation!  Almighty god chose John to be the precursor of Jesus Christ our Savior.  From the beginning of his life until his death, John was a willing instrument in God’s plan for the salvation of the entire world.  Throughout his entire life John faithfully and steadfastly adhered to God’s will that was set out for him.  He was a just, righteous and upright man of faith.  At the hour of his death God the Father most probably greeted John with words we all long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  I believe his mom and dad would have been very proud of him, don’t you?

Question of the Day:  Are inspired by the life and death of John the Baptist and are willing to imitate his fidelity to the will of God and be a good and faithful servant?

Prayer:  o God, You raised up Saint John the Baptist to prepare people for Your Son.  Grant that Saint John was martyred for truth and justice, so we may energetically profess our faith in You, and lead others to the Way, the Truth and Eternal Life.



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