Learn more about the Passion of St. John Baptist: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/martyrdom-of-john-the-baptist/
Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/082918.cfm
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. 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. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
John died for a cause, the cause of truth. He was not afraid to tell Herod the truth, that he was living in sin and causing scandal. Herod recognized that there was something special about John that spoke to him, but his wife was afraid he would listen to John’s words. How many times do we do that today? We hear the truth and are afraid that we might have to change. But John knew the truth and refused to compromise to “make someone feel good or not hurt their feelings”. Do you hold back the truth because of fear? The Lord will give you the courage you need if you will step out in faith and trust Him. Do you trust the Lord?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, remind me when I am afraid to tell the truth out of fear that you are here and will stand by me if I will just speak up. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord.