Jer. 26:11-16,24, Ps. 69:15-16,30-31,33-34, Matthew 14:1-12

“He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.” (Matthew 14:10-11)

In both our first reading and our Gospel passage today, we come across the same story; the messenger of God is made to face death for speaking the truth. Jeremiah and John the Baptist had something in common; they were not afraid of the establishment, and they were not afraid of speaking the truth to power.

Jeremiah was young and he had to speak the truth to an assembly of priests and prophets who definitely were far ahead of him in age, wisdom, and experience. John the Baptist was probably in his thirties and he faced Herod, the king, to tell him it was not lawful for him to take his brother’s wife and be living in an adulterous manner. While Jeremiah was lucky to have escaped death, John the Baptist was not so lucky. Preaching the truth is not easy. Anyone determined to take this path must be prepared for death.

This persecution surprisingly does not always come from unbelievers (outsiders to the faith). It comes also from within; from the very persons who should know better, who should be holier or closer to God. This is the scandal we see in the case of Jeremiah. While the prophets and priests sentenced him to death, the princes and the ordinary people were the ones who came to Jeremiah’s defense saying he does not deserve to die.

Again, there are people who feel that by their wealth or by their position, they have power over the moral codes that hold society together. In our society today, there are too many Herods who believe they can do anything, take any woman or man they want, tell any lie; steal any amount they so wish; and nobody, not even the Supreme Court can stop them.

No matter the level of persecution we may have to face, let us remember that a greater judgment awaits us if we keep quiet and fail to speak the truth that God has put in our hearts.

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, if saying the truth means death for me, teach me to die properly. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of week 17 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Jer. 26:11-16,24, Ps. 69:15-16,30-31,33-34, Matthew 14:1-12).

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu