“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head. (Mk 6:24-27)
John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, did not have it easy. As he grew up, he grew not only physically but in grace as well. He knew that he had been called by God to prepare the way for Jesus. And he did his best to perform that function.
Because of it, John was labelled many things. Most often, the label of “crazy” was applied to him. Yet, he continued to proclaim the message of repentance. And he began to be heard. More and more, people flocked to him, listened to and heeded his message, and were baptized in a baptism of repentance.
One of the people who listened to him, though reluctantly, was King Herod. John the Baptist constantly told Herod that he needed to repent because he had illicitly married his brother’s wife. John the Baptist told Herod that what he had done was wrong and that he needed to repent. Herod was drawn by John’s words. However, his wife had her own control over Herod.
Herod’s weakness was his licentiousness. He lusted after many people, including his wife’s daughter. At a very public party, the daughter performed a dance that captivated Herod. Herod made a public oath that she could have anything she wanted up to half of his kingdom. Her request was simple: the head of John the Baptist.
Herod’s lust was matched only by his pride. Because of his public oath — and the ramifications that would happen if he went back on it — he had John the Baptist beheaded.
John knew something like that could happen to him. He knew that his message was uncomfortable to many. He knew the scorn and hatred that he endured from many people. But, he was willing to proclaim the Word of God nonetheless because that was what he was called to do.
Proclaiming the Word of God this day can still get us in trouble. There are many people who do not want to hear it. Because of that, we may have quit standing up for what is right.
FAITH ACTION: Search your soul. If there is something regarding the faith that you have avoided doing because of fear, return to doing what is right. Let the Word of God be proclaimed and trust that God will take care of you no matter what happens.