Who is John the Baptist? St. John the Baptist
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Who is John the Baptist? St. John the Baptist

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Biblical Reference of John the Baptist

The Gospel of Mark introduces John as a fulfillment of a prophecy from the  Book of Isaiah  (in fact, a conflation of texts from Isaiah,  Malachi  and  Exodus ) about a messenger being sent ahead, and a voice crying out in the wilderness. John is described as wearing clothes of camel’s hair, living on  locusts  and wild  honey . John proclaims baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, and says another will come after him who will not baptize with water, but with the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Matthew account begins with the same modified quotation from Isaiah, moving the Malachi and Exodus material to later in the text, where it is quoted by Jesus. The description of John is taken directly from Mark (“clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey”), along with the proclamation that one was coming who would baptize with the Holy Spirit “and fire” ( Matthew 3:1–12 ). The book of Matthew next has Jesus coming to John to be baptized, but John objects because he is not worthy because Jesus is the one that brings the baptism in the Spirit. The  Gospel of Luke  adds an account of John’s infancy, introducing him as the miraculous son of  Zechariah , an old man, and his wife  Elizabeth , who was past  menopause  and therefore unable to have children. According to this account, the birth of John was foretold by the angel  Gabriel  to Zechariah while he was performing his functions as a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. Since he is described as a priest of the course of  Abijah  and Elizabeth as one of the  daughters of Aaron ,this would make John a descendant of  Aaron  on both his father’s and mother’s side. On the basis of this account, the Catholic as well as the Anglican and Lutheran liturgical calendars placed the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist on 24 June, six months before Christmas. The fourth gospel describes John the Baptist as “a man sent from God” who “was not the light”, but “came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that through him everyone might believe”. John neither confirms nor denies being the Christ or Elijah or ‘the prophet’, instead describing himself as the “voice of one crying in the wilderness”.

John the Baptist is the Patron Saint of ? 

John was a biblical prophet who prepared the way for the ministry of  Jesus Christ  and became one of Jesus’ disciples.  Christians  believe John did so by preaching to many people about the importance of repenting from their sins so they could grow closer to God when the Messiah (the world’s savior) came in the form of Jesus Christ. St. John the Baptist is a famous Bible character who is also the  patron saint  of many different subjects, including builders, tailors, printers, baptism, conversion to faith, people dealing with storms and their effects (like hail), and people who need healing from spasms or seizures. John also serves as the patron saint of a variety of places throughout the world, such as Puerto Rico; Jordan, Quebec, Canada; Charleston, South Carolina (USA); Cornwall, England; and various cities in Italy. 

Prayer to John the Baptist

I. O glorious Saint John the Baptist, greatest prophet among those born of woman, although thou wast sanctified in thy mother’s womb and didst lead a most innocent life, nevertheless it was thy will to retire into the wilderness, there to devote thyself to the practice of austerity and penance; obtain for us of thy Lord the grace to be wholly detached, at least in our hearts, from earthly goods, and to practice Christian mortification with interior recollection and with the spirit of holy prayer.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
II. O most zealous Apostle, who, without working any miracle on others, but solely by the example of thy life of penance and the power of thy word, didst draw after thee the multitudes, in order to dispose them to receive the Messias worthily and to listen to His heavenly doctrine; grant that it may be given unto us, by means of thy example of a holy life and the exercise of every good work, to bring many souls to God, but above all those souls that are enveloped in the darkness of error and ignorance and are led astray by vice.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
III. O Martyr invincible, who, for the honor of God and the salvation of souls didst with firmness and constancy withstand the impiety of Herod even at the cost of thine own life, and didst rebuke him openly for his wicked and dissolute life; by thy prayers obtain for us a heart, brave and generous, in order that we may overcome all human respect and openly profess our faith in loyal obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ, our divine Master.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
V. Pray for us, Saint John the Baptist
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God, who hast made this day to be honorable in our eyes by the commemoration of blessed John the Baptist, grant unto Thy people the grace of spiritual joy, and direct the minds of all Thy faithful into the way of everlasting salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Why didn’t John the Baptist work any miracles?

Speaking of John the Baptist, whose nativity we celebrated last week, Scripture declares: “John performed no sign” (John 10:41). I don’t know that the Church has ever spoken definitively on this issue, so I’ll venture a speculation. The miracles Jesus worked, Scripture tells us, were signs intended to direct people’s attention to Jesus Himself. They gave testimony to His divinity. When the Apostles and other followers of Jesus worked miracles, these too were signs — pointing, not to the Apostles, but to the Lord Jesus whom they preached. With St. John, however, we have a situation in which many people had already concluded, before Jesus’ public appearance in ministry, that the Baptist was himself the Messiah (the Christ). He had to deny that notion publicly and point to Jesus instead (see John 1:15, 19-27). Even then, some people continued to elevate John to an extraordinary status. After he was beheaded by Herod, some claimed that Jesus was the Baptist come back from the dead (see Matthew 14:2; Luke 9:19). We also have historical evidence suggesting that some of John’s followers did not follow his lead in recognizing Jesus as the Redeemer, but instead developed a separate religious sect that considered John its founder. John’s primary role, of course, was precisely to serve as a sign himself — to point others to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). But God had him perform that role through his compelling preaching, his rite of cleansing, and his personal example, rather than through miracles. Even without performing miracles, then, John constantly ran the risk of being mistaken for Christ or being followed instead of Christ. Think how much worse the situation would have been if he had performed miracles!

 

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