HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE BEHEADING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
THEME: ALWAYS STAND BY THE TRUTH
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY FOR MONDAY AUGUST 29 2022
It is so unfortunate that in our world today, people want to hear only what will please their ears, and not just the truth. There is the temptation as Christians to alter the Word of God in order to make others happy. However, the Word of God is eternal and cannot be changed.
In the first reading, God instructed the prophet Jeremiah saying, “You, tighten your robe to your hips, Get up and tell them everything I will order you; do not be scared in front of them, otherwise I’ll be the one to scare you in front of them.” As Christians, we must learn to be courageous and to always stand by the truth. We must always choose between pleasing God and pleasing our fellow human beings. John the Baptist whom we are celebrating today chose to do the will of God. He spoke the truth to Herod without fear. He warned him about the sin of taking his brother’s wife unlawfully. His truthfulness attracted hatred towards him, especially from Herodias the illegitimate wife of Herod, who waited for the right time to revenge. However, during one of the feasts in the palace, Herodias’ daughter danced so nice, to the point that Herod ask her to make whatever request and he will grant it. The young girl through the advice of her mother requested for the head of John the Baptist. And then John was beheaded to please the little girl and her mother. Though Herod didn’t like the message of John, yet he knew John was saying the truth. Herod had no plan to kill John, but because of the shame of not keeping his promise, he ordered for John to be killed. Herod represents some of us, especially leaders in different levels, who have no courage to stand by the truth and not bowing to pressure. In contrast, John the Baptist represents people who stand for what they believe and dare to speak the truth regardless of external pressures. John was killed but his boldness and faithfulness are worthy of emulation.
We pray in this holy mass for the courage to say the truth always without fear, and to always strive to please God first before our fellow human beings.