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Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist

My dear encountered couples:

The life of John the Baptist does not seem to have been one many of us would desire. As a child it may have been quite normal and protective with loving parents and close-knit neighbors. But John felt the pull of duty as a young man and headed to the desert where he prayed and fasted over just what it was God wanted him to do. He began preaching and baptizing, preparing people for someone important. We are told John lived on grasshoppers and wild honey, wore a garment of camel’s hair tied at the waist by a leather belt. He seems to have had few possessions, no concern for his own comfort, little if any desire for power or pleasure, the very things most people devote their lives to attaining.

And today we are reminded of the end of John’s life. He was put in prison, chained, and eventually beheaded by orders of a man whose whole life seems to have been one of self-seeking for the very things John looked upon as unimportant. John died, and eventually so did Herod. Who’s life was better? John’s who tried to do God’s will, or Herod’s who turned his back on God?

What matters in the end is not the excitement nor attainment of what the world considers important, but having tried to do what God considers important. Where is John the Baptist now? Where is King Herod? Where will we be after we die? This is a feast day with very serious lessons.

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