The Beheading Edition: Saints and Scripture Sunday

If it wasn’t Sunday, it would be the memorial of the beheading of St. John the Baptist.

“Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, for John had said to him , It is not lawful for you to to have her.’ Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet. But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.’ The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.” Matthew 14:3-12

We are very fortunate in our country that we haven’t had to die or endure serious suffering for our faith; not yet, at least. I can see it happening in the near future though, if society continues as is and the government continues to seize control of all aspects of our lives.  We live in scary times, don’t we?

Saint John is an incredible witness to the faith for our times. He was bold and not afraid to speak the truth, to call out Herod for doing what was unlawful and not pleasing to the Lord – no matter what the cost. He was the forerunner of Christ and it cost him his life. He was not afraid to go against the grain and ruffle some feathers.

Me? I shy away from talking about the Lord or standing up for the tenets of our faith, especially in casual conversations. Sure, it’s easy to talk about Jesus and faith here on my blog. It’s almost like “preaching to the choir” because many who read my blog share the same values/belief system as me.

It’s not like talking to family, friends or acquaintances face to face. All the ‘what-ifs” pop up: What would he/she think? What if I’m rejected? What if they don’t want to be friends anymore or talk to me anymore? It’s all unfounded fear based on “me” and not pure love.

Pure love is “willing the good of another.” The ultimate “good” is God and being with him forever. If I truly love, than I want all people to be with God in heaven. So, if speaking out is the ultimate good for that person, then I shouldn’t let let fear stop me. But, I do.

There is such an assault on our values: contraception, abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, pre-marital relations. The Ten Commandments are pretty much ignored and those who follow the teachings of the Church are considered “out-of-touch” and old-fashioned. If one lives out their faith with any regularity they are considered fanatics.

We (and I’m speaking mostly about myself here) need to be like Saint John the Baptist. Be bold. Go against the grain. Speak out. We need to “die to ourselves” and live fully in Jesus and then allow Jesus to work through us  to bring His love to others. Yes, we need to pray for others, but we (I) also need to reach out and not be afraid to call them out, in love, when we can.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us! Help us to be faithful and confident witnesses for Christ!

(For more Saints and Scripture head over to Kennedy Adventures.)