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August 29


Saint of the day:
The Passion of Saint John the Baptist
Passion means death

The liturgical commemoration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist is almost as old as that commemorating his birth, which is one of the oldest feasts, if not the oldest, introduced into both the Eastern and Western liturgies to honor a saint.


The Story of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist

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.






A Muslim shrine dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria.


Islamic tradition maintains that the head of Saint John the Baptist was interred in the once-called Basilica of Saint John the Baptist in Damascus. Pope John Paul II visited the tomb of John the Baptist at the Umayyad Mosque during his visit to Syria in April, 2001. Consequently, Muslims also believe that Jesus Christ will return to this location in the Second Coming.

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens

John the Baptist's head
The initial impetus for the building of the cathedral came from the installation of the reputed head of John the Baptist on 17 December 1206. The head was part of the loot of the Fourth Crusade, which had been diverted from campaigning against the Turks to sacking of Constantinople, the great capital of the Byzantine Empire. A sumptuous reliquary was made to house the skull. Although it was later lost, a 19th-century replica still provides a focus for prayer and meditation in the North aisle.


The purported head of Saint John the Baptist, enshrined in its own Roman side chapel in the San Silvestro in Capite, Rome





Matthew 3:4

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

And the same John had his raiment

of camel's hair, and a leathern

girdle about his loins; and his

meat was locusts and wild honey.

The World English Bible (ASV) translates the passage as:

Now John himself wore clothing

made of camel's hair, with a

leather belt around his waist.

His food was locusts and wild honey

Honey Wrapped Pears



  • 4 pears

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar

  • 1 cup Honey

  • ½ lemon, juiced

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla

  • 8 ounces Crescent Rolls dough or puff pastry dough



  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Peel the pears, then set aside.

  3. In a medium saucepan, combine water, sugar and honey; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the pears, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and vanilla. Simmer until the pears are fork tender, about 30 minutes.

  4. Once the pears are tender, remove from heat and allow to cool. Simmer the poaching liquid until reduced to ½ cup.

  5. Cut crescent roll dough into ½-inch strips and wrap around pears, starting at the base and working up to the top. Place pears on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with a drizzle of the reduction.



Locust Bean or Carob Beans

During my research on John The Baptist, I discovered that there is a tree that is nicknamed after him called St Johns Bread. This tree yields legume-like plants that produce nutritious beans called Carob. Carob is a sweet tasting superfood that was used as a survivor food during times of famine. 

An interesting note about the Carob tree is that it is indigenous to the Mediterranean and the  Middle East, which is where John The Baptist and the Israelites lived. The Carob tree was nicknamed St. Johns bread, because it was said to have been his daily bread in the wilderness. More interesting than that is the fact that Carob is eaten during the Jewish holiday of Tu’ Bishvat; further confirming it’s ancient roots in Israel.

Really Good Locust & Honey Cake! 

  • 2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 2 cup sugar

  • 2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ cup high quality carob powder

  • ½ cup coconut oil

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 2 extra-large eggs

  • 1 cup hot coffee


For the icing:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

  • 2 teaspoons orange emulsion (or extract)

  • 2 tablespoon milk

  • 2 TBSP orange blossom honey

For cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine first five ingredients. In a second bowl, mix the oil, milk and eggs.

  4. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and beat, starting slowly. While beating, add the coffee and gradually increase to high speed. Beat for two minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans.

  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick placed in center comes out dry. Cool for 20 minutes, then tip cakes onto cake racks.

  6. Meanwhile, for the icing: In bowl of mixer, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar with mixer set to slow speed so that it won’t fly all over the kitchen. Add the extract, honey and milk. Increase speed to whip icing to a nice, fluffy texture.

  7. When cakes are completely cooled, ice them and either stack or serve separately.




Bean vs. Bug


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