By Lissy M
Panaji, August 4, 2019: St John the Baptist Parish is where I was welcomed into the flock of Christ. My maternal grandparents’ home, where I was born, and the parish church where I was baptized are sacred to me even today.
Very spontaneously I took a liking to the saint as I visited this parish in my growing-up years during annual vacations. I did not know his story then. I wondered why he was not wearing a full dress. Why he was pouring water over a man bend before him in the river? And who was this humble man?
As I grew up my curiosity got the better of me and searched for his story as I did for many others. And my admiration for him grew. Vow! What a courage! I admired him, but finding difficult to emulate his courage! He knew he would lose his life to justice, just like people fighting for justice today. The word fear seems to be not in their dictionary.
I find difficult to imbibe this sort of courage. Slowly I am trying to walk closer. It is scary even if I do not lose my head.
King Herod wanted to put Saint John to death but he was afraid of the people, who believed John to be a Prophet. At last he gave into fear and ordered his execution because he did not want to offend his guests. Fear and human respect took control of Herod.
I wondered how John the Baptist had the courage to face Herod and tell the truth on his face.
He overcame fear because he trusted in God. And this helped him keep his fear in proper perspective. After all he was a miracle child born to his elderly parents!
He trusted the Lord who was with him during his desert sojourn, preparing for his mission. He spoke with God and established a close relationship with him. With God by his side he realized the plan God had for his life. His confidence in God helped him surrender all his fears to the Father and live in trust. He was going to be precursor for God’s own Son.
I need not search a desert to meet God. I can create one in my familiar surroundings—keep away my electronic gadgets for a while — and sit with God in silence, in quiet abandonment. In this surrendered presence before his loving presence I will be able to build up confidence. God does not want me to live in fear.
Even when our Modiji is aiming at a Hindu Rashtra, I can be confident that Human Rashtra, Baghavan Rashtra will prevail over everything. I have proof. How did God deal with the Egyptians and Israelites? How did God preserve Abraham and Lot from the immoral city of Sodom and Gomorrah? God is with the righteous. He will not let us down. We shall not fear.
But we have to talk. Abraham pleaded for his people. Moses had to talk quite a bit with the help of Aaron.
There are John the Baptists rising up in our midst too.
Listen to voice of Sweta Bhat, “I want my Sanjiv back home. They have political power to oppress the voices of dissent. We want people’s power to get justice. It is not the issue of Sanjiv’s family; it is for all. Today it is Sanjiv; tomorrow anybody among you. Come on the streets; raise your voice louder for justice,” Sweta Bhat appeals to the nation, for her husband, the modern day “John the Baptist.”
Another Indian John the Baptist is Ravish Kumar of New Delhi Television or NDTV who was selected for the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation described: “In electing to receive the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes Ravish Kumar’s unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards; his moral courage in standing up for truth, integrity, and independence; and his principled belief that it is in giving full and respectful voice to the voiceless, in speaking truth bravely yet soberly to power, that journalism fulfills its noblest aims to advance democracy.”
Rajesh Dixit, a Bhopal-based journalist, has accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur that she has sought votes on religious grounds during her election campaign and therefore her election should be declared void. She had also made communal and religious speeches during his entire election campaign, while her rival Congress candidate Digvijay Singh was “falsely” accused of making statements on saffron terrorism.”
The “Herald’ newspaper of Goa recently exposed using local patients as Guinea pigs for research in Goa Medical College.
The same newspaper’s editorial screamed at the Unnao rape case asking, “Is Uttar Pradesh attempting to prove that the politically connected are protected, whatever the crime they are accused of?”
Yes. God is indeed raising “John the Baptists” among us. Will we join hands with them? Will we overcome fear and work for justice? Will we work towards building human rashtra in our land of rishis and saints? May God walk with us.