Jesus Christ: Prefigured, preexistent, preeminent, powerful, the presence of God (and perfect).

jcconstitution

Click graphic to enlarge

As Ordinary time (tempus per anum) opens up, the lectionary continues to “introduce” Christ to us. Last week he was baptized obtained many gifts for us as he was manifested by the Father.

This week is a continuation of sorts as John the Baptist elaborates on Who Jesus is. John’s words are brief but they are packed with Christological teaching. In this Gospel we learn at least five things about Jesus. He learn that he is prefigured, preexistent, preeminent, powerful and the presence of God. Let’s look at each one.

Read more from Monsignor Charles Pope

A few extra-biblical things you probably didn’t know about St. John the Baptist

john-the-baptist

When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.

Herod knew about John’s unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant from their pursuers.

Read more

Editor’s note: We know from scripture that St. John the Baptist was born during Passover, in the spring. We also know that St. John was conceived and subsequently born 6 months before Jesus Christ – meaning that Jesus was most likely born in the month of September or October. (Add 6 to 3 or 4 and you get September or October – NOT December.)

But Jesus may well have been conceived in late December, so there’s still plenty of reason for joy. Plus – there have been a number of modifications (not to mention outright errors and “slippage”) to the calendar over the years, so December 25 may be correct, after all!

Merry Christmas! 

Celebrating the birthday of the Baptist

The birth of St. John the Baptist

by Doug Lawrence

The Catholic Church officially celebrates only three birthdays each year: the birth of Jesus Christ, the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the birth of Jesus’ cousin, St. John the Baptist.

Celebrating the birth of Jesus and Mary makes perfect sense, but why John the Baptist? I’ll let Jesus explain, in his own words:

And when the messengers of John were departed, he (Jesus) began to speak to the multitudes concerning John.

What went ye out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are in costly apparel and live delicately are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet?

Yea, I say to you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say to you: Amongst those that are born of men, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. But he that is the lesser in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:24-28)

Jesus, God Man

Jesus working with Saint Joseph

In the very first chapter of his Gospel, the apostle John tells us nearly everything we need to know about Jesus, the God Man.

To avoid confusion: We are speaking here primarily of the Apostle John, not John the Baptist. The Baptist was a prophet and the cousin of Jesus, six months his senior. King Herod beheaded John the Baptist a short time after the baptism of our Lord.

The Baptist is a primary figure in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, so people often get the two mixed up. The Apostle John, known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, became the last of the Apostles, the sole survivor, elder “churchman” and the world’s only remaining eyewitness for Christ.

He spoke of his closest friend, a marvelous, Spirit-filled man who was God Himself, come down from heaven in the flesh, to save mankind: Jesus, the Lamb, the risen Christ. John spoke also of their mother, Mary. After all, it was Jesus Himself, who, moments before He died, entrusted His mother to John’s care (and empowered His mother to care for all of us.)

John 19:25 – 27  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Many who heard him believed. John was powerful in the Holy Spirit.

The Romans didn’t like what he preached, so they tried to kill him by boiling him in oil, but John emerged from the ordeal unharmed. Not willing to risk the public embarrassment of another failed execution, they sent him into exile on the Aegean island of Patmos. From his meager base there, John worked tirelessly to share his unique, personal knowledge of Jesus with the budding Church.

One of the original Twelve (the only one with the courage to stand at the foot of the cross) and a Bishop personally ordained by Jesus, John’s authority and credentials were unquestionable. Those who were able would come to visit from all over the known world. Wouldn’t you?

The Epistles of St. Ignatius tell us much about what John’s friend and disciple, St. Polycarp, learned at John’s side. The Church (then, already known as “Catholic”) benefited immensely from these living links with the last Apostle.

Read more