THE BEHEADING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST (Memorial) Red
First Reading: 1Thes 2:1-8; Psalm: 139. R. v. 1; Gospel: Mk 6:17-29
THE EVIL WE HAVE TO FACE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
It is very unfortunate that John the Baptist had to die in this unacceptable way. To be beheaded is a very shameful and painful death. And to be buried without one’s head is dishonour. Why would God allow such death befell 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 noted that John was greater than all those born of women. So why would God allow him to die in this manner?
In life, we can sometimes be mad at God even when we know it is wrong to do so. There were times we felt we do not deserve the kind of misfortune that befell us because we did our best to be good and faithful to God. So, in fairness we felt God should not have allowed us to suffer that misfortune or certain kinds of misfortune. If speaking the truth or doing good would cause us pain and harm while evil doers enjoy the pleasure of living; what then is our gain? Perhaps we have several other unanswered questions.
But we may find peace when we accept that the world would not always be a peaceful place for those who choose the path of righteousness. And that persevering amidst this challenge will merit us eternal life. Jesus too got a share of the world’s wickedness. He neither deserved death nor deserved to be killed shamefully on a cross. The moment we choose to follow Christ, we instantly receive the mark of persecution and martyrdom. And we cannot escape this either if we chose to go our own way The beheading of John the Baptist resonates the wickedness of the world. And just as John died standing for what was right; we could also ask God for the grace to endure our own challenges. We may not find answers as to why certain things happen to us. But we can find consolation in the hope of what is to come.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, grant us the grace of final perseverance. Amen.