Frequently, my blog posts which appear here and at Catholic Insight also appear on Catholic Lane. Last Tuesday’s post: When Same-Sex “Marriage” Affects your Family was published on Catholic Lane on Monday, July 8.
While I have employed comment moderation on my blog and Catholic Insight doesn’t allow comments, an interesting discussion has taken place at Catholic Lane. The input generated by the blog post shows just how polarizing this topic is. As my spiritual director observed after he read the comments : “Truth divides.”
In response, I’d like to share Pope Benedict XVI’s Angelus address of June 24, 2007, on the Solemnity of John the Baptist. Here it is in its entirety:
John the Baptist was the forerunner, the “voice” sent to proclaim the incarnate Word. Thus, commemorating his birth actually means celebrating Christ, the fulfillment of the promises of all the prophets, among whom the greatest was the Baptist, called to “prepare the way” for the Messiah (see Matthew 11:9-10)
All the gospels introduce the narrative of Jesus’ public life with the account of his baptism by John in the River Jordan…….My book Jesus of Nazareth also begins with the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, an event which had enormous echoes in his day. People flocked from Jerusalem and every part of Judea to listen to John the Baptist and have themselves baptized in the river by him, confessing their sins (see Mark 1:5).
The baptizing prophet became so famous that many asked themselves whether he was the Messiah. The Evangelist, however, specifically denied this: “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). Nevertheless, he was the first “witness” of Jesus, having received instructions from heaven: “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit” (1:33).
This happened precisely when Jesus, after receiving baptism, emerged from the water: John saw the Spirit descending upon him in the form of a dove. It was then that he “knew” the full reality of Jesus of Nazareth and began to make him “known to Israel” (John 1:31), pointing him out as the Son of God and redeemer of man: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29).
As an authentic prophet, John bore witness to the truth without compromise. He denounced transgressions of God’s commandments, even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them. Thus, when he accused Herod and Herodias of adultery, he paid with his life, sealing with martyrdom his service to Christ who is Truth in person.
Let us invoke his intercession, together with that of Mary Most Holy, so that also in our day the Church will remain ever faithful to Christ and courageously witness to his truth and his love for all.
Source: Pope Benedict XVI. (2009). The Joy of Knowing Christ: Meditations on the Gospels. Ijamsville, Maryland: The Word Among Us Press.