Daily Reflection
August 29th, 2003
Steve Kline
Public Relations
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Memorial of the Martydom of St. John the Baptist
First Thessalonians 4:9-12
Psalm 98:1, 7-8, 9
Matthew 25:14-30

Today’s readings are fodder for a meditation upon fear and faith.

Amazing!  Although John the Baptist suffers a grisly fate, Herod is the one to be pitied.

Herod’s life is driven by fear.  He fears John.  He fears the low opinion of others.  That is why, in spite of what is in his heart, he permits the death of John.  What a miserable way to live!

And what drives John?  A powerful passion for God, for truth, for us.  What unbounded strength there is in that!

The Baptist is the bridge between the Old and the New Testament, the last of the Old Testament prophets, the precursor of Jesus.  Why should we heed John’s exhortation, or the exhortation in today’s first reading, to live according to moral principle?

Is it because God is vengeful?  I don’t think so.  That’s being driven by fear.  It is because we were made to love, honor and reverence God, in all we say and do.  If we succeed in that, even once for every thousand failures, God’s purpose for us is fulfilled.  God promises to us eternal life with him.  Next to that, the manner of John’s death – however terrible in our eyes – is insignificant.

When my life is fear-filled, I seek security in popularity, reputation, possessions, natural talents.  Like Herod, it is too much for me to heed the dictates of my own heart.  Fear drives me to play to the crowd.  Such a fear-filled life is an endless, fruitless quest for a peaceful heart.

When my life is faith-filled, there is no room for fear.  With my focus on God and God’s glory, there is no need to live for impression.  Without question, John suffered a brutal and unjust death.  But his heart was at peace, at peace with the Lord. 


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