Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Today we read about the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. He is killed for speaking the truth to Herod – an uncomfortable, unsettling truth that directly contradicts the sinful desires Herod was nursing in his heart. We are all called, by virtue of our baptism in Christ, to share in the prophetic ministry. First and foremost, we do this simply by living lives that are good and holy – no small task. Occasionally, and in appropriate ways, we must speak firmly and clearly against evil in our communities.
Yet we must keep in mind that, for all the tragic patterns of sin found in the world today, some of the most insidious are the least politically interesting. Take, for example, speaking badly of other people. We may think we need to be the prophet and denounce some person’s sins to our friends. But this accomplishes nothing other than our own dissipation. We should, however, take the matter to prayer and do what is honestly expected to help the person change his life. Then we will truly follow in the footsteps of St. John the Baptist.