Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

August 29, 2012

Liz Halfmann

Sophomore, Social Work and Theology Double Major, Spanish Minor

2 Thess 3:6-10, 16-18
Ps 128:1-2, 4-5
Matt 23:27-32

Courage and cowardice. Today’s Gospel features these two opposites. John the Baptist, a man of incredible courage; Herod and his wife, Herodias, people of unspeakable cowardice.

When Herod had John arrested and brought to prison, we don’t know if he physically resisted, but we do know he spoke up. “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife,” he said to Herod. He positively stood for the truth of God’s law, holding the king accountable for his prior divorce and remarriage. Herod cowered in the face of that truth, yet was intrigued by it, deciding to lock John up and talk to him on his own terms so as not to be reminded of the truth day after day. Perhaps we’ve all attempted to lock away the truth of God’s law at some point in our own lives, preferring not to deal with it or to listen only our own terms rather than confront our need to change.

Herod’s wife, Herodias, reacted differently toward John, but also as many of us do when people call us out—she “harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.” Have you ever felt that way when someone spoke up against you? When someone or something called your life choices, your words, or your ideologies into question, implying they weren’t always in line with God’s truth? I know I have. I just want to spit back in their face that they’re wrong; I don’t need to change; they’re the close-minded one. But maybe…just maybe…they’re not.  

Look at John for a second. He seems a bit of a passive character in this narrative. But it’s his words, his boldness for God’s law of truth that fuels the story. He clearly knows what is right, and even in the face of death, he will not step down. We are called to a courage like this. A courage to step out of our comfort zones and confront the lies we buy into each day in our own lives. A courage to hold those around us accountable to the truth of God’s love and precepts. A courage that doesn’t count costs.  

Today we honor the martyrdom of John the Baptist. May we live courageously like him, speaking and standing for the truth in all we do.

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