Tuesday, June 24, 2014

St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist at Wignacourt Palace, Malta
Certainly one of the most underrated saints in heaven is St John the Baptist. He was the same age as Jesus, born of St Elizabeth, and most probably grew up with Jesus as his buddy and best friend. Many of the paintings in fact depict them together as little boys, little toddlers being admired by Mary and Elizabeth, with Joseph and Joachim in the background. Recently I came across two paintings at the Wignacourt Palace in Rabat, Malta, one of which shows the Baptist as a young teenager or young man, and the other one as he is baptizing Jesus. What we seem to underestimate in John is his respect he had towards Jesus. He spent plenty of time in prayer, preparing for the coming into action of Jesus. In fact his motto was precisely “Prepare the way of the Lord,” a phrase we hear predominantly during the Advent Season. 
We see him in the desert converting people and encouraging them to turn to his Master, baptizing him in the process, while he disappeared into oblivion. Unfortunately he never got any credit, but was arrested and beheaded by Herod. Today we celebrate his birth, a festivity and solemnity, while his martyrdom is celebrated on August 29th.

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