THE PASSION OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST (Memorial) Red
First Reading: 1Cor 2:1-5; Psalm: 119. R. v. 97; Gospel: Mk 6:17-29
THE PERSECUTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
It is very unfortunate that John the Baptist had to die this way. To be beheaded is a very painful death. And to be buried without one’s head is dishonour. Why would God allow such death befall a man who stood for truth and justice? A man who faithfully prepared the way for the coming of his Son and who remained obedient and faithful to Jesus during the course of his ministry? Even Jesus regarded John as greater than all men born of woman. So does such a person deserve this kind of death?
In life, we can sometimes be mad at God even when we know it is wrong to do so. There are times we feel we do not deserve the kind of misfortune that befalls us because we did our best to be good and faithful to God. So in fairness we feel God should not allow us to suffer any misfortune or certain kind of misfortune. If speaking the truth or doing good would cause us pain or death while evil doers enjoy the pleasure of living, what then is our gain? Perhaps we have several other unanswered questions.
We can only find our peace when we accept that the world is not a peaceful place for the righteous. And that enduring whatever happens to us herein while maintaining a just life is the key to eternal life. Jesus too got a share of the world’s wickedness. He neither deserved death nor deserved to die the way he did. The moment we choose to follow Christ, we instantly receive the mark of persecution and martyrdom. The beheading of John the Baptist resonates the wickedness of the world. And his faithfulness till death reveals that every true follower of Christ has the grace to endure suffering for the sake of the kingdom. So don’t bother about that misfortune or why it happened. Rather ask for the grace of final perseverance.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, grant us the grace of final perseverance. Amen.