Today the Church celebrates the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. This feast used to be known as the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. Personally, I like the Passion better. It reminds me of how passionate John the Baptist was for God. I hope that we share in that passion. 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 an interesting figure in the story. St. Mark says, "Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him." Herod was strangely attracted to the truth, yet it never caused him to repent. Too bad...
John the Baptist is a true of example of courage under fire. I, too, find that attractive. He spoke the truth, regardless of the cost. I suppose that at some point he could have capitulated and told Herod that he really did nothing wrong. But that, in and of itself, would have been wrong. So John did not back down. Let us pray that we can follow his example of courage to the end.
Father, help us to emulate John the Baptist. Help us to boldly proclaim the truth in love, regardless of the cost. Amen.