Passion of
Saint John the Baptist

“On the subject of mutual charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9.)

Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“It is through grace that we not only discover what ought to be done but also that we do what we have discovered. That is, not only that we believe what ought to be loved but also that we love what we have believed. If this grace is to be called “teaching,” let it at any rate be called “teaching” in such a manner that God may be believed to infuse it, along with an ineffable sweetness, more deeply and more internally. This teaching, therefore, would be not only by their agency who plant and water from without but likewise by God also who ministers in secret his own increase. All this is in such a way that God not only exhibits truth but likewise imparts love. Thus the apostle speaks to the Thessalonians, “As touching love of the brothers, you have no need that I write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.” (On the Grace of Christ, 12.)

O God,
who willed that Saint John the Baptist
should go ahead of your Son
both in his birth and in his death,
grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice,
we, too, may fight hard
for the confession of what you teach.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen