Being like John the Baptist sounds a little crazy considering he was beheaded. Today in the church we celebrate the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist. There are many characteristics of John that I would like to incorporate as I journey with Jesus.
- The first is that John, like our Blessed Mother, points people to Jesus. It is not about him but everything is about Jesus. When the followers of John questioned this, he said what I want to live everyday, “He must increase and I must decrease.”
- John stood for truth. He was not afraid to tell Herod that it was unlawful for him to marry his brother Philip’s wife Herodias. That truth would cost him his life because Herodias, in today’s Gospel from Mark 6, would ask for his head on a platter.
- My favorite characteristic is when John was in his mother Elizabeth’s womb only 6 months. Our Blessed Mother Mary came to the home of Zachariah and Elizabeth, her cousin, and when she greeted Elizabeth, John leaped in her womb. Jesus, just conceived, brought great joy to John. I want to leap for joy every time I hear the name Jesus. My Lord is so awesome!
There is a lot of evil in this world. And evil was on full display with Herod, Herodias and Salome. It was a great party filled with sin. I can only wonder what John must have thought when they came to behead him. My guess would be that he got down on his knees in a position to make it easy to be beheaded and he prayed for Herod and Herodias. Like Jesus on the cross, His words ring loud and true, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” John’s reaction may not be in scripture, but it is in my heart and I still want to be like him.