I recall an incident that happened during our street evangelization mission back in 2016. I was sharing about my reflection on one of Jesus’ “I Am” statements from the Gospel of John: “I am the Good Shepherd.” I was so engaged in the topic that I even used as an example one of the presidential aspirants back then who cursed the pope and frequently criticized the Church. I told the audience out loud that this candidate was far from being a good shepherd because he did not have the qualities of a good shepherd like Jesus. After that sharing, my co-servants commented, “Ang tapang mo para sabihin yun. Pwede ka kayang mabaril.” (You are so brave to tell that. Someone may shoot you to death.) I just told them laughing but, at the same time, nervous, “Ayos lang, martyrdom ‘yun kung sakali.” (It was fine then. I could end up a martyr.)
How firm is our commitment to uphold the truth of our faith? Are we still willing to stand up for the truth if it means risking our lives? This is the story of St. John the Baptist. He did not hesitate to tell the truth, even if it meant risking his life. He may have been able to escape death by distorting the truth to cover up the sins of Herod and Herodias, but he did not do it for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
In order to be true followers of Christ, we must speak the truth, even if it displeases others or goes against what they believe, and even if the person we are speaking to is someone close to our heart. May we always imitate St. John the Baptist, whose life is a testimony of courage and faithfulness to God.
By: Sem. Edward R. Miana
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.