Saint Study Podcast
Podcast # 115
- Hello everyone and
welcome to Saint Study Episode 115 – “St. John The Baptist”
- Thank you for
joining us – maybe we can all learn enough today that by the end of
the program we will say, “I didn’t know that” (But now I do!)
- What is a saint?
A Canonized Saint is someone recognized by the Church as having led a
life of great charity & heroic virtue. Their example of how to conquer
any sin imaginable is so important that it was worth recognizing these
men & women in a significant way. Anyone (canonized or not) whose soul
was cleansed in Purgatory and now resides in Heaven is a Saint. It is
every Christian’s goal to become a saint.
- We always begin our
learning by inviting the Holy Spirit to be with us…
- In the Name Of The
Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.
- Dear Heavenly
Father we ask you to be with us as we learn about the lives of your
Saints. We ask that our minds be open and that you may fill us with
the knowledge that was so loved by these men and women who lived lives
of heroic virtue and great charity. Allow us to understand and emulate
these Saints who we now know are in your company. In your name we
- Let’s look at The
Saint for this weeks study St. John the Baptist…
- The primary sources of
information relating to the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist
is the most complete, giving the circumstances accompanying the birth
of St. John the Baptist and items on his ministry and death.
- St. Mark & St.
Matthew’s Gospels speak mainly of his Ministry and Adult life.
- St. Johns Gospel adds
a few more passages such as Acts 13:24; 19:1-6; but these are few and
bear on the subject only indirectly.
- St. John The Baptists
Father – Zachary - a priest of the course of Abia, the eighth of the
twenty-four courses into which the priests were divided (1 Chronicles
- Mother - Elizabeth,
the Precursor's mother, "was of the daughters of Aaron", according to
St. Luke (1:5) and cousin of Jesus’ Mother, Mary (Refer to Podcast
- He is frequently
referred to as “The Precursor”
- The birth of the
Precursor was made known in a most remarkable way.
- Luke 1:6-17 (Read Aloud) –
- In the days of
Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the
priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of
Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes
of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord
blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and
both were advanced in years. Once when he was
serving as priest in his division's turn before God, according to
the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter
the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole
assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the
incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at
the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he
saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be
afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife
Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you
will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for
he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither
wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even
from his mother's womb, and he will turn many of the children of
Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before
him in the spirit and power of Elijah
7 to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the
disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a
people fit for the Lord."
- As Zachary was slow in
believing this surprising prophecy, the angel, making himself known to
him, announced that, in punishment of his incredulity, he should be
stricken with dumbness until the promise was fulfilled. "And it came
to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed
to his own house. And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived,
and hid herself five months" (Luke1:23-24).
- During sixth month
Mary came to visit Elizabeth after hearing she had conceived a child.
Mary was aware how much her cousin had wanted a child.
- When the two cousins
first met the unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt with joy.
- It was at this moment
we think that the unborn child, John, was filled with the Holy Spirit
and cleansed from the stain of original sin.
- On the 8th
day after John’s birth, as was tradition, he was to be named and
- However the name of
Zachary was not used…Elizabeth insisted on John as the Arch Angel
Gabriel had told her. Even though Zachary could not speak, he wrote
that their new son’s name would indeed be John.
- This was unusual in
Jewish tradition because children were named after another family
- Once Zachary
proclaimed his son’s name to be John, his “mouth was opened and his
tongue set free” – His speech was returned.
- John’s actual date of
birth is unknown. Gospel doesn’t spell it out but it is generally
thought to be about 6 months before Jesus.
- Of John's early life
St. Luke informs us only that "the child grew, and was strengthened in
spirit; and was in the deserts, until the day of his manifestation to
Israel" (Luke 1:80).
- It is generally
thought that 30 yrs. Passed until John returned as a prophet. “In the
15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…”
- “The Precursor” did
not appear as other men did. He wore a camel hair and leather girdle
and was quite thin. His diet mainly consisted of wild honey and
- John had a strong
character and even though his body was thin and not the symbol of some
great physical presence, John preached that one should "Do penance:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2)
- Many were drawn to
him. His words… “He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath
none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner" (Luke 3:11).
- John advised them
- trusting in their
- Faithfulness and
honesty in the fulfillment of one's duties
- The humble
confession of one's sins.
- Some were publicans;
(Roman tax collectors) on them he enjoined not to demand more than
the rate of taxes set by law (Luke 3:13).
- To the soldiers he
recommended not to do violence to any man, nor falsely to denounce
anyone, and to be content with their pay (Luke 3:14).
- John begins to Baptize
- "saying that baptism
was good, not so much to free one from certain sins as to purify the
body, the soul being already cleansed from its defilements by
- When John began
baptizing the people it drew much attention.
- This was when he
became know as John The Baptist
- Many were against
this practice and used scripture as reasons why they were against
it. (Ezekiel, Zechariah, Etc)
- Some Wondered aloud
if John was the Messiah (Luke 3: 15)
- (Luke 3:16, 17) "I
indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier
than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he
shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in
his hand and he will purge his floor; and will gather the wheat into
his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire"
- Eventually Jesus
traveled from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John.
- (Matthew 3:15-17)
Gives account of the Baptism of Jesus.
- At first John was
confused why Jesus would need baptized as “He who did no sin” would
come to John seeking “baptism of penance for the remission of sins”
(John knows the Messiah is sinless)
- John moments later
came to have perfect knowledge about baptizing Jesus and complied
fully. (Divine inspiration)
- “After Jesus was
baptized He came up from the water and behold, the heavens were
opened for him . . . And, He saw the Spirit of God descending like a
dove and coming upon Him. And a voice from heaven, saying: This is
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"
- This marked the
beginning of Jesus’ ministry. (CCC 536-537)
- At this baptism of
Jesus, He formally turns his life over to God and submits himself to
be “numbered” among the sinners.
- Jesus has reopened
to door to heaven that the sins of Adam had caused to close.
- John continued to
evangelize and Jewish priest’s and Levites approached him to find out
if he was the Messiah.
- John told them he was
not the Christ. He said: “I am the voice of one crying in the
wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet
Isaiah" (John 1:19-28).
- Remember back to the
program on St. Andrew…Andrew was a follower of John. There came a day
again when Jesus was close by and looking at Him John said, “Behold,
The Lamb of God.”
- Andrew immediately
understood that John was not the Messiah but the one who would lead
him to the Messiah.
John Gets Arrested
- Christ had left to
preach in Galilee & John continued preaching in the Jordan valley.
- Herod liked to hear
St. John speak but Herod was Fearful of St. John’s great power with
- But Herod had him
arrested and imprisoned at Machaerus Fortress on the Dead Sea when
John denounced his adulterous and incestuous marriage with Herodias,
wife of his half brother Philip.
- Death Of St. John The
- Herodias hated St.
John so intensely that she wished him dead for what he had said
about her relationship with Herod, but did not know a way to kill
- John was beheaded at
the request of Salome, daughter of Herodias, who asked for his head
at the instigation of her mother.
- Herod offered Salome
anything she wanted because he was so pleased by her dancing at his
- (Mark 6:21-28) Ask
of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee. . .Who when she was
gone out, said to her mother, what shall I ask? But she said: The
head of John the Baptist. And when she was come in immediately with
haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou
give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist. And the king was
struck sad. Yet because of his oath, and because of them that were
with him at table, he would not displease her: but sending an
executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish:
and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother"
- Saint Jerome says
Herodias kept the head for a long time after, occasionally stabbing
the tongue with his dagger because of what John had said in life.
- St. John The
Baptist’ Feast Day is August 29th.
Knights Of Malta
- Conclusions –
Interesting notes about their life or sainthood
- Angel Gabriel told
Zachary about how his unborn son John would be filled with the holy
spirit from inside the womb…remember when Mary visits Elizabeth…
- Remember the 2nd
Joyful mystery of the Holy Rosary…”The Visitation”
- A Key event in
- Interesting that in
naming John as an infant that it shows us that we don’t always have to
do things the way we always did it…Is this something that God is doing
to show the Jews that it’s OK to change as long as it is recognized as
- John as a prophet also
reveals himself not as other men look. Some think he’s the devil? His
attire and diet are so unusual. Is their a lesson here?
- Preview of next episode
- Episode #116 – St.
Joseph – Husband of Mary
- Primary References,
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