The Beheading of St John the Baptist
With all the recent videos on the internet of beheading of people in the Middle East this feast has taken on a special resonance this year. There is something grotesque about the whole idea of beheading, the cutting of a person in two and taking away that part of a person that is most expressive of who they are.
John the Baptist simply stood up for what was right. The powerful people who wanted to live life their own way, decided that he had to die. It is no different today; do what I want you to do or die. I want you to convert, if you don’t convert you die.
Free will is something that our species has not been able to manipulate. Each and every person has to make a choice - do good or choose bad. I would recommend reading Encyclical Spe Salvi if you haven't read it. Especially starting at chapter 45 - where Pope Benedict starts explaining about our individual choices and how they impact ourselves and society. Wonderful insight!
John the Baptist also stood for something else; he stood as a witness to Christ; the all good, all loving God.
But this is where we run into problems today in the West. We no longer believe in an all good and all loving God, so why should we worry about what goes on in a foreign country?
The death of John the Baptist reminds us that those with power will use that power to get their way. It will always be the same and the reason is that human nature does not change.
Some cynic once said, ‘we are making progress. In every war they think up new ways to kill you.’
But the Truth is always there as well. And the Truth cannot be killed, for it is not of this world. It is written in the heart of every man and there shall always be people who hold to it, just as John the Baptist did. They are witnesses to the Truth and nothing can take that away from them.
In this age, when the Christian faith is taking a hammering all over the world, we need to remember that not even the beheading of John the Baptist or the crucifixion of Jesus could stop the Truth from prevailing.