Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, Korean Seeds Of New Life

Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and nearly 10,000 other Korean Martyrs, mostly laynpeople, were killed in Korea for their faith during the 19th-century persecutions of Catholic Christians. Andrew Kim Tae-gon is the first native-born Korean priest, and is patron saint of Korea. 

St Paul & St Andrew

Today, we venerate 103 of these Koreans who have been declared saints.  Together with the saints we have honored year-to-date and the ones we shall be honoring the rest of the year not only give further credence to the fruitfulness of faith in the face of persecution, but as Tertulian said: "We spring up in greater numbers the more we are mown down by you: the blood of the Christians is the seed of a new life."

These martyrs also demonstrate that the biggest threat to China, Europe or any totalitarian government is not the United States, but Christianity. The Catholic Catechism makes it clear: "There is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom 13:1). Every human community needs an authority in order to endure and develop. (CCC 1919). "The political community and public authority are based on human nature and therefore belong to an order established by God" (GS 74 § 3).(1920) Authority is exercised legitimately if it is committed to the common good of society. To attain this it must employ morally acceptable means. (1921) The diversity of political regimes is legitimate, provided they contribute to the good of the community. (1922)  Political authority must be exercised within the limits of the moral order and must guarantee the conditions for the exercise of freedom. (1923)

From 1392–1897, the Great Joseon Dynasty ruled all of what is today North and South Korea. Though shamanism and Buddhism were among the religious beliefs of Koreans during that period, Confucianism was the main philosophical, ethical, and political system. Within that system, a clear hierarchy was established within the family and social structures, with the king on top. This class system was at the heart of their culture. Ancestors were also highly honored and even ritually worshiped, and various human virtues were emphasized, studied, and fostered.  Christianity was for sure an anathema.

The first Christians in Korea were baptized by invading Japanese soldiers in the late 1500s. By 1777, several Christian texts made their way to Korea. When a missionary priest visited the country more than a decade later, he found 4,000 Christians living without the sacraments for they had never seen a priest before

The Korean monarchy, not unlike other authoritarian governments,  feared Christianity and repressed it with several violent persecutions between 1791 and 1866. Andrew’s parents were converts to the faith, and his father, grandfather, and several uncles were executed for it. Andrew’s mother was left destitute and had to rely on begging for survival.

According to Faith ND, Andew was baptized at the age of 15, and soon after left for Macao, China to enter a seminary. After further missionary work, he was ordained a priest and returned to Korea to minister and evangelize. Two years later, at the age of 25, he was captured as he made his way along the Korean shoreline to find safe and secret passages for other missionaries. He was tortured and beheaded on September 26, 1846.

Chong Hasang was the son of converts to Christianity and though several members of his family were martyred, he also sought the faith. He took a job serving a government interpreter, which allowed him to travel to Beijing. There, he asked the bishop to establish a diocese in Korea and send priests, which happened in 1825.

As a lay leader and married man, Paul  advocated for Christians  to the Korean government. When another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tried, was tortured, then placed on a cross and died. His mother, Cecelia Yu Sosa, was also martyred that same year from injuries following repeated whippings.

May the blood spilled by our Korean brothers and sisters continue to be the seed of a new life.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Feast of St. Januarius

Each story of a saint is always inspirational, unique, intriguing, marvelous, right out of superheroes movies, often fantastic and entertaining, bordering on the incredulous. Saint Januarius does not disappoint.

Saint Januarius, patron saint of Blood Banks 

Today is the feast of St. Januarius, The bishop of Naples, when the Blood of Naples Bishop, affectionately known as San Gennaro liquefies in recurring miracle.

The blood of saint Gennaro liquefied at the city's cathedral on Tuesday morning, The miracle was announced at exactly 10.03 by Archbishop Mimmo Battaglia, to lengthy applause from the faithful, according to Italian state broadcaster RAI News

The Church believes that the miracle takes place in response to the dedication and prayers of the faithful. When the miracle occurs, the mass of reddish dried blood, adhering to one side of the ampoule, turns into completely liquid blood, covering the glass from side to side.

According to documentation cited by the Italian media Famiglia Cristiana, the miracle has taken place since at least 1389, the first instance on re

The saint's blood traditionally liquefies three times a year: in commemoration of the transfer of his remains to Naples (the Saturday before the first Sunday in May); on his liturgical feast (Sept. 19), and on the anniversary of the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in 1631 when his intercession was invoked and the city was spared from the effects of the eruption (Dec. 16).

In 250, Roman Emperor Decius implemented the first empire-wide, systemic persecution of Christians. As the bishop of Benevento, San Gennaro, along with his companions Festus, Desiderius, Sossus, Proculus, Euticius, and Acutius, Januarius was arrested as part of the Christian persecution of Diocletian in 305. The bishop and his friends were thrown into the lions den, not unlike when Daniel was thrown into the lion's den: The story of Daniel in the lion's den teaches us about the promises and faithfulness of God, even if we feel like everything has been lost. In Daniel's case some of the king's wise men were jealous, in an unwise move, the men knew Daniel prayed to God, so they tricked the king into making a new law. Anyone who prayed to God would be thrown into a lions' den. Daniel chose to pray to God anyway. God sent his angel to shut the lions' mouths while Daniel was in their den overnight. Surely Daniel prayed to God for his protection throughout his long night in the den! Surely San Gennaro prayed to God as well. Just like with Daniel, the lions did not touch San Gennaro or his friends.

"I often wonder how the soldiers and the crowds responded when this sort of thing happened. Did they yell at the lions? “Eat! Eat those awful Christians! Come on, they taste so good!” Or did some of them get scared and sense that these Christians might really be onto something?) Eventually, the soldiers decided to simply kill the men themselves. They chopped off their heads." Wrote Fr. Damian Ference in the piece titled Saint Januarius, patron saint of blood banks. Talk about a letdown!

According to the legend, after the martyrdom of San Gennaro, a woman collected and kept some of the martyr's blood in an ampoule, while bishop's body was placed first in Fuorigrotta and then in Catacombs of Capodimonte. Why would the women even fo that? Father Ferences says that Christians, because of their belief in the resurrection of the body, go to great lengths to assure the proper burial of a body. Just as Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body after his death on the cross, some of the faithful would have requested the bodies and heads of Januarius and his six companions and in this case, the blood of San Genaro which made its way to Naples. The bishop’s bones are buried in the crypt of the cathedral. The ampoule still contains some of his dried blood.

Experiments have been conducted, yet there has been no medical or scientific explanation for this strange phenomenon. The brilliant Cardinal Newman said, “I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples."

When the blood doesn’t liquefy, the Neapolitans take it as an omen of misfortune.

The blood did not liquefy in September 1939, 1940, 1943, 1973, 1980, nor in December 2016 and 2020.

The relic also remained solid the year Naples elected a communist mayor, but it spontaneously liquefied when the late Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Terence Cooke, visited the St. Januarius shrine in 1978

In 2015, while Pope Francis was giving some advice to the religious, priests, and seminarians of Naples, the blood liquefied again.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

Saint Cornelius:  Patron Saint of cattle and domestic animals

Invoked against earaches, epilepsy, fevers, and twitching

Saints Cornelius and Cyprian lived and served Christ and His Church during a time not significantly different from what we are going through today: Take away ad hominem attacks, politispeak slander and euphemisms, it’s obvious that we have a full on attack on Judeo-Christian values - the very ones America was founded uponl and attacks  on Christianity by Corporate America, including Bud Light, Delta Airlines, NorthFace,  the US Navy, Kohl’s, Major League Baseball,  Los Angeles Dodgers, Target,  USSoccer,  et al, ad the White House, DOJ, FBI and Main Stream Media are in lock step to promote the Christo-Fascist, America Is Racist narratives

Saints Cornelius and Cyprian faced severe persecution from the state and led the people of God through that suffering by word and example. They also vigorously supported the unity of the Church, were merciful to sinners, and were true shepherds of their flocks.

Cyprian, born Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus, was the son of wealthy pagan parents in North Africa. Well-educated in Greco-Roman literature and rhetoric, he had a successful career as a lawyer and teacher. Around the age of forty-six, he converted to Christianity and gave much of his wealth away, devoting himself to prayer and asceticism. Within three years, he was ordained a deacon, a priest, and finally, the Bishop of Carthage, in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa, around the year 249.

Saint Cyprian of Carthage is second in importance only to the great Saint Augustine as a figure and Father of the African church. He was a close friend of Pope Cornelius, and supported him both against the anti-pope Novatian and in his views concerning the re-admittance of apostates into the Church.

His writings are of great importance, especially his treatise on The Unity of the Catholic Church, in which he argues that unity is grounded in the authority of the bishop, and among the bishops, in the primacy of the See of Rome.

In 250, Roman Emperor Decius implemented the first empire-wide, systematic persecution of Christians.
During the persecutions, Pope Fabian was martyred. Once Emperor Decius died and the persecutions ended, a group of bishops gathered in Rome and elected Cornelius as the new pope. Novatian was displeased with this development and had himself ordained as a second bishop of Rome, positioning himself as the first antipope.  After Emperor Decius died, Gallus became the Roman emperor. While Gallus did not continue the empire-wide persecution of Christians, he did support the restoration of pagan Roman religious practices. Within a year of becoming emperor, he had Pope Cornelius exiled to Centumcellae (modern-day Civitavecchia), a city just outside Rome, on the Mediterranean coast. A year later, due to harsh conditions, Pope Cornelius died in exile and is considered a martyr.

As we honor these early saints, ponder the impact that they had on the early Church. Their witness affected the people of their time and has had an ongoing effect upon subsequent generations. Honor these holy men of God by imitating their courage and mercy in your own life so that God will use you to influence not only those in your life, but also those who will come after you in ways that are known only to God.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Memorial of St. John Chrysostom

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of StJohn Chrysostom (347-407). St. John was born in Antioch. With St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Basil, he forms the group of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. As Archbishop of Constantinople, his courageous stance against the vices of even the wealthy caused him to be exiled several times. In 407, he died while in in exile.


The word 'Chrysostom' means 'golden mouthed. ' This name was given to him for his preaching and public speaking skills, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders.

Saint John Chysistom taught against cruelty, tyranny, war, and bloodshed, maintaining that it is altogether improper for Christians to wage war and that peace and quiet are to be taught in the kingdom of Christ.

When he was eighteen, St. John Chrysostom decided to became a monk-hermit, living in a cave, studying the Scriptures, and putting himself under the discipline of an old hermit named Hesychius. However, his health broke under this austere regimen and he returned to Antioch, was ordained a priest, and began his remarkable career as a preacher

During the next twelve years, he electrified Antioch with his fiery sermons, filled with a knowledge and an eloquence that were astonishing. It was during this period that he received the nickname Chrysostom, or golden mouth, for his words seemed to be pure gold. In 397, when the see of Constantinople became vacant, the Emperor Arcadius appointed John patriarch, and since it was feared that he would refuse the honor, he was lured to Constantinople and consecrated bishop of the city in 398.

John found himself in a nest of political intrigue, fraud, extravagance, and naked ambition. He curbed expenses, gave lavishly to the poor, built hospitals, reformed the clergy, and restored monastic discipline. But his program of reform made him enemies, in particular the Empress Eudoxia and the Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria. The city in turmoil, his life threatened, John was exiled by the emperor in the year 404.

The papal envoys were imprisoned, and John — defended by the pope and ordered restored to his see — was sent further into exile, six hundred miles from Constantinople, across the Black Sea. Worn out and sick, he died of his hardships at Comana in Pontus. His last words were, "Glory to God for all things."
—Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens

"The present world is a theater, the conditions of men are roles: wealth and poverty, ruler and ruled, and so forth. When this day is cast aside, and that terrible night comes, or rather day—night indeed for sinners, but day for the righteous—when the play is ended, when the masks are removed, when each person is judged with his works, not each person with his wealth, not each person with his office, not each person with his authority, not each person with his power, but each person with his works, whether he is a ruler or a king, a woman or a man, when he requires an account of our life and our good deeds, not the weight of our reputation when the masks are removed, then the truly rich and the truly poor are revealed."
—St. John Chrysostom

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a memorial celebrated on 12 September, to commemorate all the privileges bestowed upon Mary by God and all the graces received through her intercession and mediation. 

Mary's Highest Title: Mother of God: The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos ("God-bearer") because her son Jesus is both God and man: one Divine Person with two natures (divine and human). This name was translated in the West as "Mater Dei" or Mother of God.

Meanings ascribed to Mary's name by the early Christian writers and perpetuated by the Greek Fathers include: "Bitter Sea," "Myrrh of the Sea", "The Enlightened One," "The Light Giver," and especially "Star of the Sea." Stella Maris was by far the favored interpretation.

Most Holy Name of Mary Prayer;

“Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

It's Not Systemic Racism. It's Systemic Humanism

What the Oregon Food Bank calls "Systemic Racism" is not only a misnomer, it's inflammatory and designed as a call to action for the unconcious.

 Not significantly different from Bob Fertik, President of, fund raising mass mailing calling Elon Musk a traitor for endorsing GOP traitors. Or the Southern Poverty Law Center calling Catholics domestic terrorists.  Or the Department of Justice and the Teachers Unions calling parents who speak up during school board meetings domestic terrorists.

You see, there's no such a thing as "systemic racism",   If anything, it's systemic humanism:  systemic search for power and wealth, no matter the cost.  Urs von Balthasar calls it an Ego-Drama.

Hans Urs von Balthasar  was a Swiss theologian considered to be an important Catholic theologian of the 20th century. Balthasar authored more than 60 books on such diverse topics as the theology of history, the early Christian Church Fathers, classical literature, and modern aestheticism. He wrote much of his early work as a rebuttal to the writings of his friend and rival the Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth.

According to Balthasar, we live an Ego-Drama when everything we do revolves around ourselves and no one else; on the contrary, we live a Theo-Drama whenever everything we do revolves around God.

Even before the web log, circa 2003 George W Bush pledged to democratize the Muslim World by providing platforms to  promote free speech, including printed and online media. BigTech, followed suit and  promised to democratize the world by offering free Internet , but it quickly carved out silos monetizing hate and division. The more divisive the post, the more clicks.

Social media and demaguges like to use the term systemic racism, implying hate and division. Yet, while hate is a strong human emotion, it is also irrational and a vice. I posit that a more appropriate name is "systemic humanism" - it's  all about hatred, loathing, dislike, distaste, disgust. Fear, insecurity, ignorance, jealousy, pride. etc. aka a vice - and not just due to skin color.

I have been called every name in the book.  In the Weirdo Capital of the World, aka Portland Oregon, I've been told to "go back to where you came from"? Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

I graduated from High School with honors. but my counselor said I was more qualified to do clerical work. I thought otherwise and obtained a bachelor’s degree in electronics with a minor in Biomedical degree. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

While attending summer school, I was invited to a pool party in an exclusive area of Del Cerro, CA.  Unbeknownst to me, most of the kids, while I was in the pool, gravitated away from me.  Weeks, perhaps months later, a friend told me why.  System racism or systemic humanism?

Some 20 years later my daughter was told by her counselor to "leave a UCLA college application for someone more deserving."  Unbeknownst to me, she quietly applied and graduated in four years. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

I've been called stupid, racist, moron, illiterate and white supremacist as a result of my writing.  Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

In the case of systemic humanism, as Hans Urs von Balthasar would put it, we tend to stay away from the Theo-Drama,  we all have a tendency to sin, also known as concupiscience. According to the Catholic Catechism, "sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root. CCC 1865

Whereas vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called "capital" because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. CCC 1866

Consider that the college majors that pay the most right after college  are STEM-based. Except for a BS In Race Hustling -  Race Hustling is the highest paid degree: The University of Michigan has 163 DEI officers. Ohio State & U of Virginia have 94. Georgia Tech has 41, but only 13 history teachers. The Highest-paid diversity and inclusion employees rake in substantially more than the average full-time professor.  While the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers Racially Exclusive-Programs and Scholarships. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

What do the daily FBI press releases, the Pandora Papers, the Facebook whistleblower, the IRS abuse of the Tea Party, the Russia Hoax, The  Ukraine Hoax, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, the January 6th Insurrection have in common with voter fraud? – The common denominator is an inside job.  No wonder an old Muslim proverb warns: The Biggest threat comes from Inside.  In the case of the Pandora Papers, the leaks expose how some of the most powerful people in the world, including more than 330 politicians from 90 countries, use secret offshore companies to hide their wealth. Is this systemic racism or systemic humanism?

Prior to Dr, Fauci, U.S. government doctors thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people, prison inmates, and minorities, such  as  giving hepatitis to mental patients, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital, sterilizing Native American women whiteout their consent and notably the Tuskegee trials where for 40 years, the US Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on African Americans men who suffered from syphilis, lured them under the guise of free medical care and meals but withheld treatment. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

As Dr. Faucci enters the scene, you may also recall that at the onset of the pandemic, public health officials,  politicians, Legacy Media, Big Tech and  Big Pharma, were in lockstep behind the lockdown-at-all-costs strategy, censoring contrarian views/ research that threatened the status quo. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

More recently, after the FBI announced that patriotic symbology could be an indicator of domestic terrorism, the DOJ at the urging of teachers unions went after parents who spoke up during school board meetings labeling domestic terrorists.  After it used the Southern Poberty Law Center as a fact Checker, the FBI  determined that Catholic Symbology is an indicator of domestic terrorism.  Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

Clearly if you take away ad hominem attacks, slander, politispeak  and euphemisms, it’s obvious that we have a full on attack on Christianity by Corporate America, including Bud Light, Delta Airlines, NorthFace,  the US Navy, Kohl’s, Major League Baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers, Target, US Soccer, Rapinoe et al. as the White House, DOJ, FBI and Main Stream Media are in lock step to promote the Christo-Fascist, America Is Racist narratives. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

A 1987 study of  US top executive managers affiliated with 147 firms from both financial and non‐financial sectors in 2005 and 2018 demonstrated that alumni of prestigious universities have a strikingly higher likelihood of attaining a top executive role in finance than in non‐finance.
The findings suggested that
elite groups still dominate the most symbolically valued education, and as a result, top managerial positions. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

The Institute for Business Ethics reported that in "2018, the highest number of ethical lapses was recorded in the banking and finance sector, followed by the information technology (IT) sector and the professional services sector. Collectively, these three sectors account for nearly a third of the total number of headlines." You may recall that top executives come from elite universities.  Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

According to a piece in the Harvard Business Review titled How Common Is Unethical Behavior on U.S Organizations? The answer is, very: Unethical behavior is not unique to a time or place and it happens in organizations of all types and across industries: The U.S. Army and Central Intelligence Agency personnel was humiliating prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Volkswagen managers cheated on emission standards inspections, and Wells Fargo recently reached a $3 billion settlement after employees opened millions of accounts without customer consent.  In scandals like these, the conversation often turns to individual “bad apples,” but the real culprit is more often the climate of the organizations where unethical behavior happens. Systemic racism or systemic humanism?

Hatred, just like "systemic racism" cannot be eliminated through legislation and will not stop until Jesus second coming. Jesus denounced hatred in all its firms. 2 000 years ago. By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill," 94 our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced hatred as immoral. CCC 2302

Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." 97 CCC 2303

But guess what happened in the 60s? Progressives kicked God out of the public schools;

Since  SCOTUS (1963)
decided that teaching children about wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety,  fear of the Lord., charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity was too radical - We have mental health crisis
[  ] Infanticide turned into #BlackGenocide
[  ] African American nuclear family has joined the Sea Turtles in the extinct list
[  ]  80% of AA kids are raised in fatherless homes
[  ] We have a fatherlesssness crisis
[  ] A Girlhood Crisis
[  ] A Trans Crisis

While Christians pray daily for world peace, what we are actually praying for is for the end of the world. For Jesus Second Coming

Some of us cannot wait that long, so we are tempted to fight systemic racism. or hatred, with hatred and can easily fall prey to the demagogues, corrupt politicians or Propagandists.

Next time someone brings up systemic racism, keep in mind, the ends never justify the means. As the Catholic Catechism states: (1753)  A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).

So, ask yourself these questions;

1.  Are we being asked to fight evil with evil? Who is "we- the good guys" versus "they-the bad guys"

2. Who gets the money to fight the bad guys?

3.  Is this an Ego-Drama or a Theo-Drama?

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Passion of John: The first Christian Martyr

The Passion of  John: The first Christian Martyr. Three early martyrdoms are recorded in the New Testament: John the Baptist in ca. AD 31, Stephen in ca. AD 35 and James the apostle in ca. AD 44, plus countless others that would follow John the Baptist - beheaded for preaching a message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

While John the Baptist was the first Christian Martyr tells of others martyred for their faith on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.l: The Martyrdom of a Mother and Her Seven Sons is recounted in 2 Mccabees

"It also happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.

One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: “What do you expect to learn by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”  After the torture and death of the seven children 2 Mccabees continues:
"Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother who, seeing her seven sons perish in a single day, bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord." 

While the faith of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah along with  Daniel is tested like the Mother and Her Seven Sons, with a different outcome:  The 
Four Hebrew young men from the same tribe, the royal family line of David, are taken into captivity by an invading Babylonian Empire. The goal was to immerse and integrate the captives into all that Babylonian culture entailed with a view to them serving at the King's court, and their Hebrew names are replaced with Chaldean or Babylonian names. Eventually the three Jewish men are thrown into a fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon for refusing to bow to the king's image, but they remain unharmed. "Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and rose in haste, asking his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Certainly, O king,” they answered.

“But,” he replied, “I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God" - Daniel Chapter 3

Fast forward to the New Testament where Mark in Chapter tells how God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Christ: The Preaching of John the Baptist.

2a As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:* b

“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;

he will prepare your way.

3c A voice of one crying out in the desert:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight his paths.’”

4John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
6John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.* He fed on locusts and wild honey.
7And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
8* d I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”

John the Baptist was a Jewish prophet of the Jordan River region, celebrated by the Christian church as ‘the Forerunner’ to Jesus Christ.

John preached a message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and offered a water baptism requiring people to change their hearts, reject sin and return to God. This meant that they had to express sincere sorrow for their sins, pledge to treat their neighbours justly and to show piety towards God. Only once they had done that were allowed to submit to baptism.

Herod Antipas arrested, imprisoned and executed John because he had spoken out against immorality: Herod Antipas, had repudiated his wife in order to marry Herodias. Herod’s first wife was the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabataea, and their marriage had sealed a peace treaty. With the treaty now broken Aretas waged the war that his daughter’s marriage had been intended to prevent.

According to Mark 6:14-29, John the Baptist was beheaded by the order of Herod Antipas, after a cunning interplay between Herodias and her daughter Salome, according to Flavius Josephus,  (Jewish Antiquities XVIII, 5.4 § 136-137),

In The Antiquities of the Jews (Book 18:116-19), Josephus confirmed that Herod Antipas “slew” John the Baptist after imprisoning him at Machaerus, because he feared John's influence might enable him to start a rebellion.His beheading by Herodias inaugurated the era of Christian martyrs; he was the first witness for the new faith.

In the story of Mark 6 it reads as follows:1

6 14King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some were saying, 'John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him'.15 But others said, 'It is Elijah'. And others said, 'It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old'.16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, 'John, whom I beheaded, has been raised'.17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because Herod had married her.18 For John had been telling Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife'.19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.22 When his daughter Herodias [other translations: The daughter of Herodias] came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, 'Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it'.23 And he solemnly swore to her, 'Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom'.24 She went out and said to her mother, 'What should I ask for?' She replied, 'The head of John the baptizer'.25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, 'I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter'.26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.27 Immediately, the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

John the Baptist, like his predecessors, the mother with seven sons, and the four Hebrew young man in the Book Daniel, trusted that God would delivered them from their enemies as told by Luke Chapter 12:

4I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more.
5I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna;* yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
6Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?* Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
7Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.d
8I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
9But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.e