St. John the Baptist Day - June 24th

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Bro. Brad Marrs, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    Today we celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist!

    St. John's life was notable for five reasons; he was the messenger foretold by Isaiah; he was a forerunner and witness to the Christ; he proclaimed baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; he heralded the coming of the Messiah; and, he recognized Jesus as the Messiah and baptized Him.

    Four symbols are attributed to John the Baptist. They are the color white, the lamb, the axe, and monks.
    White represents purity and joy. It is the color of baptism, and is used at Easter, Christmas, and when praising saints.

    The lamb and axe are iconographic emblems. John 1:29 states "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Biblical scholars have different viewpoints about this passage. Theories include (1) John did not actually speak these words; (2) Jesus imparted his conception of his vocation to John when they spent time together; (3) John had a revelation about Christ's mission; and (4) John referred to a sacrificial offering in the Temple.

    In the Gospel of Matthew, John says, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance. . . . Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

    John compared the Pharisees and Sadducees to vipers because the snake has been equated with tempting men to sin. John was concerned about the sins of men, and equated the axe with sin. A person who repents is sorry for his sins and failures. These people set good examples, and the trees bear good fruit. If a sinner does not repent, then he sets a bad example, and the tree bears bad fruit.
    Monks are the patronage of St. John the Baptist. John's raiment of camel's hair, leathern girdle about his loins, and subsistence of locusts and wild honey were characteristic of monks living in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Why is St. John the Baptist honored on June 24th? He is one of only two saints where we remember the nativity of the individual. The date was fixed in the late 4th Century as June 24, six months before Christmas Day because according to Luke, Elizabeth became pregnant six months before the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary.

    June is also the time of the summer solstice. The summer solstice has been a time of celebration since early recorded time. Man expressed the equality of time between night and day by dancing, feasting, and playing music. Thus, our celebration of St. John the Baptist is a continuation of ancient customs.

    Our Lodges are dedicated to the Holy Saints John. In every regular and well-governed Lodge there is a certain point within a circle. The circle is the boundless universe, and the point in the center is the individual Mason. The circle is bordered by two perfect parallel lines which represent the staffs of John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.

    As Masons, we know the square is the symbol of truthfulness and honesty. As such, we should always remember that our actions should be lawfully correct. Most Worshipful Bro. Dean mentioned that we should always obey the law. And, if we err, then it is improper to hope that the law officer or judge be a Mason, and to ask for special consideration. When our actions are proper, then our actions are right. And, when our actions are right, we should be proud to wear the Square and Compasses.


    St. John the Baptist gave us this important lesson about our conduct: Standing for the truth is more important than life itself. St. John the Baptist stood for the truth, and was not afraid of the consequences. He spoke against sin, urged repentance, proclaimed the coming of the Mess iah, and denounced Herod's incestuous marriage. He was executed because he told the truth. How are our lives? Are we willing to sacrifice our lives to stand up for the truth?



    Excerpts taken from an essay by Roger W. Peak
     
  2. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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