The Head of the Baptist

'Head_of_Saint_John_the_Baptist'_by_an_anonymous_Spanish_painter,_c._1600-1650,_Cleveland_Museum_of_Art

What an interesting and timely gospel we read today.  These days our church has been working hard to preserve the true meaning of marriage.  In today’s gospel passage from Matthew, John the Baptist is imprisoned and ultimately murdered for criticizing Herod’s illegitimate marriage to the wife of his brother Philip.

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

Time moves on, but human behavior remains the same, doesn’t it?  We want to do what we want to do.  But there is more to life than just satisfying our worldly desires.

Stay true to doing right and living in the truth of the Lord.  It probably won’t make us very popular in today’s culture, but a reward in Heaven is greater than any fleeting popularity that the world can give.

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