Friday, 29 August 2014

Widening the meaning of Martyrdom

The celebration  or commemoration of the beheading of John the Baptist, (or as the latest ordo puts it euphemistically, 'the passion of John the Baptist') proves a very significant point about martyrdom.  Very often the Church has considered only those who have been slain 'for Christs' name' as the sole criterion for declaring some one a martyr.  If one analyses the life, or more particularly, the death of John the Baptist, it is clear that he never died because of his association with Jesus Christ.  He died just because he spoke the truth and dared to stand by it, come what may.  He paid a heavy price not for proclaiming Christ but for standing for truth and values.

The recent uplifting of the ban on the canonisation process of Oscar Romero is indeed a step in the right direction - once again, hats off to Pope Francis.  If John the Baptist can be venerated as a saint for laying down his life, because he chose to stick on to the truth and not because he was an ardent follower or proclaimer of Christ, so can Romero.  Truly speaking, Christ Himself stated: I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life!

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