John the Baptist was sent by God to give witness to Jesus Christ, the light of the world. John knew that he himself was not the light. He knew he was called to show the world that Jesus Christ is the light of divine truth, and those who unite themselves to Jesus Christ and live by that divine truth will be saved.
Through our baptism we are called to unite our prayers, actions and thoughts to Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is God and man, he is the source of all saving truth and divine grace, and by accepting this in faith we can grow in holiness through his Church.
John the Baptist is one of the greatest saints be-cause he fearlessly spoke the truth, even telling King Herod that he had a sinful relationship with the wife of another man. John spoke these words to the King from a loving heart, that he might convert and be saved. He was fulfilling one of the spiritual works of mercy: Admonish the sinner with, for and out of true love.
However, King Herod rejected that true love and jailed John the Baptist, and then decapitated him. John is a martyr for Jesus Christ, and the Greek word “martyr” means to be a “witness.”
Jesus Christ continues to inspire other witnesses like Carlo Acutis who was beatified by Pope Francis, October 10, 2020. He was born in London, 1991, but then his family moved back to Milan, Italy.
Carlo was baptized and was an energetic child who loved God. His mother was given advice to learn more about the Catholic faith so that she could understand Carlo’s love for God.
Antonia learned more and was able to have Carlo receive Holy Communion and Confirmation at age seven. Carlo wrote, “To be always united with Jesus, this is my life program.”
To be always united to God, this is the first step to being a witness to the light of Jesus Christ. Carlo became a witness to Jesus Christ by receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist daily, going to confession almost weekly and by praying the Rosary daily.
He was so in love with Jesus Christ, our Eucharistic Lord, that he used his talent as a computer web de-signer to gather many of the Eucharistic miracle stories so that people can easily learn about them through the inter-net. He started this project at age 11 and continued to add to it until age 14.
On October 10, 2020, Pope Francis beatified Carlo Acutis who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. When he was diagnosed with leukemia, a blood cancer, his faith grew and Carlo said, “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church.”
His mother, Antonia, recalls how he liked com-puter games, but limited himself to only one hour a week so that he could stay free to serve God and others. She recalls that: “As a little boy, especially after his First Communion, he never missed his daily appointment with the Holy Mass and the Rosary, followed by a moment of Eucharistic Adoration.”
Carlo would often say that the Eucharist is his highway to heaven. He would also say, “The more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
Before the celebration of his beatification in Asissi,
Italy, October 10, 2020, Pope Francis had gathered all the evidence, and approved a miracle that was attributed to the intercession of Carlo. This miracle occurred in Brazil where a boy Mattheus was healed of a birth defect called an annular pancreas. This birth defect profoundly limited his diet to vitamins and protein shakes.
The boy’s mother, Luciana Vianna, spent years pray-ing for her child who was only 20 pounds at age 4 and thought to be near death. But then a priest friend of the family learned about Carlo Acutis through the internet and obtained a relic from the mother of Carlo.
Padre Marcelo invited Catholics to a healing Mass and encouraged them to ask Carlo to intercede for whatever healing they might need. On October 12, 2013, exactly seven years after Carlo’s death, Mattheus and his mother went to that Mass and he touched the picture of Carlo with a prayer to be healed.
Healing began immediately to the point that his pancreas changed physiologically. On the way home from Mass, Mattheus told his mother that he was already healed. At home, he asked for French fries, rice, beans and a steak – the favorite foods of his brothers that he could only imagine eating.
He ate everything on his plate and did not vomit. This occurred for several days and when his mother brought him to the physicians they were mystified by the healing Mattheus had experienced.
Many people gave witness to how Jesus Christ shined through this boy Carlo, who grew into a young man whose mission was to bring as many people to Jesus Christ as possible. During the seventeen-day event that occurred during his beatification approximately 41,000 people passed by the tomb of Carlo to see him lying there in peace in his tennis shoes, jeans, a sweater, and holding his Rosary.
Even after his death, much like St. John the Baptist and other Saints, Blessed Carlo Acutis is still giving witness to Jesus Christ. For Jesus Christ is the source of saving truth and healing grace of which the human family desperately needs before the glorious second coming of Christ. Amen.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe