Jer 20:10-13 | Rom 5:12-15 | Matt 10:26-33
Matthew tells us that Jesus 'summoned' his disciples. What he has to say is simply for them, but they are not to keep it to themselves. Once their period of instruction is over then 'what they have heard in whispers they are to proclaim from the housetops.'
Psalm 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15
Luke 1:57-66, 80
The history of the development of the Liturgical Calendar in the Catholic Faith is a complex and fascinating story of faith, symbol and logic. Today’s solemnity illustrates this perhaps better than most festivals or fasts of the cycle. St. John the Baptist is not and was never a “Christian” as such. Like St. Joseph, he died before Jesus’ death and resurrection that marked him as the Christos (the Greek word for Anointed One or Messiah in Hebrew). There is a strong Gospel witness that John intuited or surmised that Jesus was the promised one – at least he sent his disciples to Jesus while he himself was confined to prison to ask this very question – and the Church is confidant that if he did not discover the full meaning of that before he was beheaded he certainly did when he met the Risen Lord in Eternity.
This is one of our most powerful feasts, but it has not always been well served by the “artists” who make and sell religious objects. Jesus with blood dripping from his heart does not stimulate my devotion, anyway. Likewise, some of the prayers connected with devotion to the Sacred Heart strike me as putting the focus on ourselves—human sin and wrong-doing—rather than on God and the redeeming power of that love poured out in Jesus.