22nd Sunday in
Ordinary Time – C
My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory Memorial and full set of orations [Collect, Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion]
is on The Passion of Saint John the Baptist,
observed on August 29. While our Blessed Mother has many Feast Days – and rightfully so, only 2 Saints have 3 Feast Days. Saints Peter and Paul
share a Solemnity on June 29; each has their own Feast: The Chair of Peter the Apostle on February 22
and The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle on
January 25, and they share the Optional Memorial
of the Dedication of their respective Roman Basilicas
on November 18. Only 2 Saints have 2 days: we honor Saint Joseph, Spouse of the BVM
on March 19
and Saint Joseph the Worker
on May 1. And we honor The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist on June 24 and his Passion on August 29. [If liturgical trivial is on heaven’s entrance exam, you owe me!] Here are the orations for The Passion of Saint John the Baptist.
Collect – Passion of Saint John the Baptist
O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist
should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that,
as he died a Martyr for truth and justice,
we, too, may fight hard
for the confession of what you teach.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
WHAT DOES THE FAITH COST YOU?
Did the English translators of this Collect have a sick sense of humor – or choose words poorly? They COULD have said that John the Baptist, who was BEHEADED, went BEFORE
Jesus … but instead they said John went … AHEAD … of Jesus! Certainly I know beheadings are no joke … for Christians still suffer that same fate at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists! Over the centuries, numerous Saints lost their heads for the same reason John the Baptist lost his head.
More than one English Saint was beheaded for daring to ‘speak truth to power.’ And the issues these martyrs raised were usually the ones John confronted: misuse of authority; violations of God’s Commandments, particularly Matrimony; moral and ethical ambivalence. Yet do we take time to let what some lost their head over even enter into our head? Do we strive to learn and understand Church teaching on marriage and sexuality, political power and religious freedom, ethics and morals? God help and forgive us!
Prayer over the Offerings – Passion of Saint JTB
Through these offerings
which we bring you, O Lord, grant that
we may make straight your paths,
as taught by that voice crying in the desert,
Saint John the Baptist, who powerfully sealed his teaching by the shedding of his blood.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE LORD.
John the Baptist did far more than simply die for the Lord; he lived his entire life
for God – and strove to help others know and serve the Lord. Like John the Baptist, we must do the same in our own time, when many of our loved ones no longer practice the Faith. Like John, we must prepare the way for the Lord
to enter – or reenter into their life … by SHOWING them, by our words and deeds, the power of our Faith. This may cause us to endure hardships and rejection, though I doubt it would lead to the shedding of our blood!
Prayer after Communion – Passion of Saint JTB
Grant, O Lord, as we celebrate the heavenly birth of Saint John the Baptist, that we may revere, for what it signifies, the saving Sacrament we have received and, even more, may rejoice at its clear effects in us.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
ARE YOU THE CHRIST?
When the imprisoned John sent disciples to ask Jesus if He were the Christ, Jesus replied: “Go tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.'” [C.f. Matthew 11:2-5] As this prayer suggests, we who receive ‘the Christ’ in the Blessed Sacrament should be able to show the world – through our words and deeds – that the Eucharist truly is Christ’s Real Presence! Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS