At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
It is hard for us to find much in common with Herod in today’s Gospel. He is willing to put John in jail because he doesn’t like what he has to say about Herod’s moral choices. Then, instead of going back on a promise he made and losing face, he has John killed. His decisions, obviously, are wrong. We are rarely placed in a similar situation where a moral question is that black and white.
In all likelihood, however, there are more subtle times in our lives where we face these challenges. Are there times when we know a person or idea is right, but we are afraid that people will think less of us if we stand up for it? When someone is willing to speak a hard truth to us, do we take it to heart, or do we put up a wall and respond in anger? Are we willing to listen to the prophetic voices in our lives?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
St. John the Baptist, you weren’t afraid to speak the truth, even when it was not well received. May we have the courage to hear what God is calling us to in our lives so that we, like you, may point others to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
—The Jesuit Prayer team