Pope Benedict XVI: Witnessing to Truth and Love

marriage-wrecking-229x204Frequently, 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:

baptism of the LordJohn 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.

Deo Gratias

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4 Responses to Pope Benedict XVI: Witnessing to Truth and Love

  1. SaintlySages says:

    Indeed, the truth divides us, but thankfully it does not divide God. I am wary of poplar opinions, for Christ said that the road to eternal life is narrow and few find it (Mt 7:14). Have a great weekend, T. God bless you and yours!

  2. “As my spiritual director observed after he read the comments : “Truth divides.” ”

    That is an accurate observation, IMHO. Even Christ himself said that he came not to bring peace on the earth, but to bring division. I believe it was exactly this type of division that he was referring to, and that it can show itself in many shapes and forms.

    To be strong and not compromise is a sign of commitment to the truth. It always disheartens me greatly when I read of those who compromise truth to keep the peace. It seems the most uncharitable thing under the sun to make such a decision. If a beloved friend wanted to jump off a cliff, you would not compromise (or consider yourself charitable) by saying, “well, go ahead, but will you at least choose a cliff that would be a fair compromise to us both?”

    Either way, the friend would obviously die, and no good would come of the wasted compromise (and to make it worse, you would not be partly at fault for the death).

    It is good to read of those willing to stand up for truth in our time and simply not compromise – however big the “divide of truth” may become.

  3. Teresa Rice says:

    Truth divides not because the truth is divisive but because those who reject truth, the doubters or skeptics, pave the way for others to doubt the truth, stray from beliefs – the truths – and this gives the appearance that the truth is divisive. God Bless.

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