Today, the Church continues to walk through Ordinary Time. While there is much to write about the liturgical season and the Bible readings, it’s important that we don’t forget what today’s feast day would have been. As a “little Easter,” every Sunday bumps smaller feast days. And so, if today were not Sunday, we would be celebrating the Passion of Saint John the Baptist.
With due respect to Sunday, the lessons of the passion and beheading of Saint John the Baptist are very much needed today. Are we willing to stand up for what is right? Are we willing to speak unpopular truth? Are we willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness?
The man of the desert was raised up by God and given the spirit and power of Elijah. He only knew truth and its power. Saint John would be a man only for God and is hailed as the last of the Old Testament prophets.
The test of the last prophet is still one that is battled by the children of God, namely, the sanctity of marriage. At the time of Saint John, the local king took his brother’s wife as his own. This act violated the moral law of God. No one spoke. Everyone looked the other way. No one cared to speak the truth or to give a sincere act of charity to the king. No one that is, except Saint John. He spoke the truth and called the king to repentance.
The king did not convert and was intrigued by the prophetic denunciation and its boldness. The wife, however, was not amused at all. In an act of deception that has still inspired poets and artists to this day, the wife used her daughter to allure her husband into a promise that led to the beheading of Saint John the Baptist.
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