Today the Church celebrates the Passion of St. John the Baptist. The Gospel reading is from Mark 6, the account of why and how John the Baptist was beheaded. It is a sad and grisly story, but one that we can learn much from. I encourage you to read it.
Herod is something of a tragic figure in the story. He’s one of these people that it would be easy to have a love/hate attitude towards. He had a great deal of respect for John the Baptist. There was something about him that made Herod uneasy, yet he found himself strangely attracted to. John spoke the truth. And it cost him his head. He paid the ultimate price for standing up for the truth.
There are probably few things in life that we would be willing to die for. Our family, certainly. I always tell my bride, “I would take a bullet for you.” And I like to believe that’s true. But would we be willing to take a bullet for our faith? If a ne’er-d0-well came to you and said, “Renounce your faith in Jesus or I will kill you!”, would you do it? A goofy hypothetical situation, right? But what about much smaller things? Like not sharing or showing your faith for fear of being ostracized or marginalized? Or not standing up for the truth when among unbelievers or critics? John gave his head for the truth. What are we willing to give?
Father, you know that we can be such cowards when it comes to standing up for the truth. Give us the courage of St. John the Baptist, that we may always proclaim the truth in love, no matter the cost. Amen.