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 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. You have to kind of admire Herod. Though he had John beheaded, he was a man of his word. I guess you could say that he did the wrong thing for the right reason.
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.
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