Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday June 23rd. 2013
t was Jesus himself who said: 'Never has there appeared on earth a man born of woman greater than John the Baptist.. The birth of John the Baptist is one of the oldest feasts in the  Church's calendar. In the early days of the Church it was difficult to mention Jesus Christ without referring to John the Baptist so much were their lives woven together. John was born in Judea, six months before Christ, of aged parents; Elizabeth his mother was a cousin of Mary. He was an unusual character, an eccentric who from his earliest years lived in the wilderness.  He looked the part of a prophet with his long hair, flashing eyes, rough camel hair coat and diet of locust and wild honey. Once he began to preach, the crowds flocked to hear him and were so fascinated by his message that many mistook him for Messiah. He was fearless in denouncing evil and a thorn the flesh of those who did not want to face the truth in their lives. His popularity with the people prevented King Herod from putting him to death when he condemned his adulterous marriage to Herodias, his brother's wife. Instead he had him arrested, chained up in a dark prison and suffered martyrdom. For those in search of God, John's greatest desire was to point them towards Jesus. He was very clear in fulfilling his role of being a voice crying in the wilderness preparing a way for the Lord, and making straight his paths.He said: I must become less and less, he must become more and more. I am not worthyto untie the strap of his sandals.  His whole life of humility was absorbed in being a fearless speaker for God and a supporting character to Jesus.  In every age there is a need for prophets to speak out,  especially today, when Christianity is being marginalised in  so many areas, and secularism is seeking to influence the whole of our society. This is where the Catholic Church plays such an important part with the special letters from the Popes which express the teachings of the Church when faith and morals are being attacked. Letters from recent Popes  Over the centuries, Popes have written letters to the whole Church to instruct the faithful on some important aspect of Catholic faith and doctrine onmatters that are relevant at the time, advising, encouraging them and also alerting them to any dangers where man has interfered with God’s laws. Just a few examples Pope John XX111’s letter  Pacem in Terris(Peace on Earth) was a papal encyclical issued by Pope John XX111 on April 11, 1963. It remains one of the most famous of 20th century and established principles that featured in some of the documents of the Second Vatican Council and of later popes. It was drafted by John XXIII two months before he died from cancer. It was the first encyclical to be addressed by the Pope, not onlyto the Catholic faithful, but to"all men of good will". In this work, John XXIII reacted to the political situation at the time, for it was issued in the middle of the Cold War, and only two years after the erection of the Berlin Wall and shortly after the Cuban Missile Crises. The Pope explained in his letter that conflicts "should not be resolved by recourse to arms, but rather by negotiation". He further emphasized the importance of respect of Human Rights as an essential consequence of the Christian understanding of mankind. He clearly established...that every person has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life. It was very well received by most nations.
 Pope John Paul 11 Evangelium Vitae—The Gospel of Life. Pope John Paul wrote many important encyclicals which influenced governments and nations. The last of his encyclicals was one of his most important on his teaching of the Culture of Life. He issued it in March 1995. It expresses his vision of the modern age as one in which humanity lives in aof death. He strongly reaffirms the Church's opposition to abortion, contraception and euthanasia  - all of which he views as being connected, rampant, and embraced by "a civilisation of affluence and pleasure that lives as though sin did not exist, and as if God did not exist  Pope Benedict XV1 wrote three letters: In his first encyclical, God is love.  he said that human beings, created in the image of God, who is love, are able, through the practice of love, to give themselves to God and one another.  The encyclical, Saved by Hope, was received with tremendous enthusiasm because of his explanation of the tenderness of God’s mercy and compassion. No one must ever give up hope. His third letter entitled Love in Truth  was issued on 7th  July 2009.  In it, he continued the Church's teachings on social justice. He condemned the prevalent economic system “where the pernicious effects of sin and greed are evident,” and called on people to rediscover religious ethics in business and economic relations. It was well received by many Governments in the world, particularly by many members of the British Government at the time.  The voice of the prophet is still heard today through the teaching of the Church. We remember Our Lord’s words to his Apostles: Whoeveryou, hears me. That voice will never be silent, but will always be there to lead and guide us through a world that so often ignores God’s laws and sets itself up as an authority on everything,with no respect for life or death. In Pope Francis, we have a new prophet who bases his life on St. Francis and by his own personal example of poverty and holiness encourages us to lead a simpler life  where God is more important than material goods, and the poor have a special place in our love and generosity.
Monday is the birthday of John the Baptist