Losing your head for the Truth.
John the Baptist wasn’t afraid of risking his neck for the truth. He called out “King” Herod on his adulterous incestuous relationship with Herodias (his living brother Philip’s wife).
“preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.”
-2 Tim. 4:2
John preached the truth in season and out. He didn’t care about winning popularity contests. He couldn’t be silent about this.
Like the Lord told Ezekiel:
“If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.”
– Ezek. 4:18-21
“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
– 1 Cor. 9:16
St. John went to prison for the truth. He even faced death for the truth.
The courage of St. John is contrasted with the cowardice of “King” Herod:
After Herodias’ daughter Salome danced for Herod, he delightedly (and stupidly) promised her anything—even half his kingdom. Lust can rot your brain. At her mother’s wicked suggestion, Salome asks for the head of the John the Baptist–over half the kingdom.
“And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her” – Mark 6
“What about my guests, what will they think?”
“I’m going to lose votes”
Herod killed him because he wouldn’t face the truth.
In dying for the truth, John the Baptist died for Christ. As St. Bede the Venerable points out:
“There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: I am the truth? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.”
The Church celebrated the Matryrdom of St. John the Baptist yesterday. It’s a great reminder for us to stand up for Jesus whatever the cost. Because the Truth is worth dying for.
St. John the Baptist pray for us!