Beheading of John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. His mother was St. Elizabeth and his father was Zechariah. The first chapter of Luke's Gospel tells of the wonderful event of John's birth. Mark's Gospel, chapter 6:14-29, records the cruel details of John the Baptist's death. What harsh consequences John accepted for teaching the truth.
King Herod and his wife refused to hear how they stood with God. They wanted to make their own rules and live their own lives. St. John the Baptist had to pay the price for his honesty. Yet he would have had it no other way. He would never have kept silent while sin and injustice were happening. He called people to repentance and wanted everyone to be reconciled to God. He recognized that true happiness comes from God.
John had preached a baptism of repentance, preparing people for the Messiah. He baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and watched with quiet joy as the Lord's public ministry began. John encouraged his own disciples to follow Jesus. He knew that Jesus' fame would grow, while his would fade away. In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, St. John the Baptist calls himself a voice crying in the desert to make straight the path of the Lord. He invited people to get ready, to prepare themselves to recognize the Messiah.
His message is the same to each of us.
What would it be like not to be silent when I see injustice around me? Am I willing to pay the price of living a life of integrity?