26 June 2017

On pilgrimage through the sites of St. John the Baptist (Part 2)

Last week we visited the places that marked the first part of the life of John the Baptist. Today we will go to the desert of Judea to visit the places where he lived his mission of preparing the way of the Lord!

Liturgies

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We are in the desert of Judea ... where John lived a good part of his life in deep penance and prayer ... The Sacred Scriptures tell us that John's clothes were made of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist; his food was locusts and wild honey.

The desert brings one back to the spirit, to silence, to the encounter with oneself and with God ... It is a place that invites to austerity and to the essential things in life... this is the place of the ministry of St. John the Baptist.

Fr. DIMAS SOLDA, fmm
Student of the Sacred Scriptures/ Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"As the beginning of the third chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew relates:
In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea (and) saying,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.’

We continue our journey to Jericho, a very ancient city whose ruins date back to eight thousand years before Christ! Here, you can visit the Jordan River, the place where John the Baptist baptized people!

Fr. DIMAS SOLDA, fmm
Student of the Sacred Scriptures/ Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"We might ask: What is the point, what is the meaning of John's baptism? The Gospel says it is a baptism of penance, of conversion. John comes to prepare the people, each time we talk about John the Baptist we talk about something greater that is about to happen ..”

Jesus was baptized here. John said he was not worthy to loose the thongs of His sandals ...

And from here, from Jericho, we can see the Jordan River and Machaerus, where the castle of Herod was located and where John the Baptist was decapitated.

Fr. DIMAS SOLDA, fmm
Student of the Sacred Scriptures/ Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"John the Baptist, announcing the truth and denouncing the injustices, interfered with certain systems of his time and this led him to martyrdom. In him we have a great model, the one who came to prepare the way (...). Those who accept his proposal of penance and conversion are already separate from those who do not accept it and Jesus' mission is to come to gather the grain into the barn!"