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Monday, August 28, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

PASSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST-NO NUKE TEST DAY

Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody.

Psalm 22, verse 26
I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

This whole psalm is a lament unusual in structure and in intensity of feeling. The psalmist’s present distress is contrasted with God’s past mercy while enemies surround him. Yet, he wants to praise God while in the midst of suffering, he crys out a universal chorus of praise. This Psalm is important in the New Testament. Its opening words occur on the lips of the crucified Jesus, and several other verses are quoted, or at least alluded to, in the accounts of Jesus’ passion. I wonder if John the Baptist also prayed this psalm to strengthen himself before his own passion. Remember warriors of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we too shall be confronted with our own passions in this life; when this happens; come to this psalm and sing it in your heart as did John and Jesus before entering the fray. Then if the Lord carries us through this battle let us “Offer praise in the great assembly” and thanksgiving recounting to the other worshipers the favor received from God and invite them to share in the sacrificial banquet.

International Day against Nuclear Tests[1]

The International Day against Nuclear Tests seeks to raise awareness about the negative effects of nuclear weapons and the need to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world. The day also serves to educate people everywhere about the need to ban nuclear weapon tests in order to ensure world safety. Since the first nuclear test in 1945, over 2,000 nuclear tests have been carried out and led to accidents, such as the Chernobyl, Ukraine accident of 1986, ending in tragedy, long-term radiation poisoning and atmospheric damage. International Day against Nuclear Tests was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2009. It is observed every year on the 29th of August, a day that commemorates the 1991 closure of the Soviet Semipalatinsk site, the world's largest nuclear testing facility, in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan.

International Day against Nuclear Tests Facts & Quotes

·         The US, the Soviet Union and France have carried out the most nuclear tests over the past 6 decades, with 1,032, 715 and 210 respectively.
·         The cost of the Manhattan Project, where the first nuclear bomb was ever built, is estimated to have cost $20 Billion.
·         The total number of nuclear missiles built from the year 1951 to the present is 67,500.
·         There are an estimated total of 16,400 nuclear weapons on Earth today.
·         So long as nuclear weapons continue to exist, so will the temptation to threaten others with overwhelming military force. – Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhist philosopher, educator, author and anti-nuclear activist.
Top Events and Things to Do

·         Watch a movie or documentary about nuclear disasters.  Some suggestions are: The Day After (1983), Threads (1984), Trinity and Beyond (1995), Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Seconds from Disaster: Meltdown at Chernobyl.
·         Attend the meeting held by the president of the UN General Assembly by either going to the event in person or watching the recorded webcast.
·         Read a book about nuclear issues in the world today. Some suggestions are: Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power (2011), In Mortal Hands (2009), and Nuclear or Not? Does Nuclear Power Have a Place in a Sustainable Energy Future? (2007).
·         Spread awareness about the day by using the hashtag #InternationalDayAgainstNuclearWeapons, #notonuclear #againstnucleartests.

Martyrdom of John the Baptist[2]

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation, repentance, and salvation.

Reflection

Each of us has a calling to which we must listen. No one will ever repeat the mission of John, and yet all of us are called to that very mission. It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus. Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ. By our words and deeds, others should realize that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord. We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources, but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ’s saving grace.

Daily Devotions/Prayers
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         National 54 day Rosary day 15
·         Novena to the Holy Face day 7


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