Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Message of the Cross

Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist

By Melanie Rigney

Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18)

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Psalms 33:5)

(Herodias’ daughter made her request:) “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in prison. (Mark 6:25-27)

Lord, may I continually strive to fulfill the promises I made to you or others made for me at my baptism and my confirmation. I owe allegiance to none but you.

Do you remember who baptized you? If you were baptized as an adult, most likely. But if you were an infant, probably not, unless your parents were friends with the priest or he went on to serve for many more years in your community.

And really, isn’t that the way it should be? It’s not about the person who provided the sacrament, but rather the Lord to whom it bound us. In today’s first reading, Paul reminds the early Christians that their allegiance is to Christ, not the one who baptized them.

Most of us are like Paul. We weren’t sent to be among the ordained and those who baptize under ordinary circumstances. But we all, each and every one of us, has the privilege and obligation to preach about the Good News, to carry the message of the cross, in our every word and thought an interaction. Human eloquence isn’t critical. Devotion and sincerity are.


To whom or what are you offering greater allegiance than to God? Money? A loved one? A fear? Review the baptismal vows, and start anew.

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