“Daring to be the voice that stands for, and upholds the Truth!”
(Based on Heb 13:1-8 and Mk 6:14-29 – Friday of the 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)
A particular prime minister of a country – outspoken and audacious – heavily denounced the policies and atrocities of his predecessor, who was a dictator.
Once during a public meeting, as he censured the former dictator with stringent words, he was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience: “You were one of the colleagues of the former dictator, isn’t it? Why didn’t you stop him then?”
“WHO SAID THAT?” roared the prime minister!
This thundering question bellowed and boomed…
… causing an agonizing and fearful silence to prevail among the audience.!
No body dared to move a muscle!
There was complete hush among them all
After a few moments of silence…
… the premier softly replied: “Now you know why!”
“I was afraid to have my voice heard… so that I could be safe!”
The prime minister confessed his fear in “being a voice that was heard” so that he could shield his life…
… and thus ‘played safe!’
The Gospel of the Day is however, in stark contrast to this trend – with the presentation of the Bold and Courageous Voice of St John the Baptist…
… who “made his voice heard” – in standing and upholding the truth
… and who had to offer his life as a martyr for the Truth!
The Gospel presents before the Brutal Beheading of the Voice – St John the Baptist!
The voice was powerful.
The voice was a hope to many.
The voice, however, also disturbed a few… disturbed even to the point of revenge and vengeance.
And……slit…..! The voice was silenced!!
The Beheading of John the Baptist is one of the most brutal and visually-powerful incident in the entire Gospels.
John the Baptist was a Prophet.
And a True Prophet is a truth-teller!
As we read in today’s Gospel, this True Prophet, John, was the whistle-blower in crying “foul” over the illegitimate relationship between Kind Herod and his brother’s wife, Herodias.
Herodias hated John the Baptist.
Herodias hated him because he told the truth & she didn’t like the truth.
Herodias was determined to twist the truth into a lie and the lie into a truth.
Herodias, at her earliest opportunity, would seek to direct her revenge upon the truth teller!
Herodias wanted to get rid of that “crazy man” who was determined to put a moral mirror in front of her face.
Herodias, wanted this Voice to be silent!!
To silence the true voices of the society, is the bane of any generation….
How many a voice-of-correction by the parents, is put to silence by disobedient children….
How many a voice-of-moral lives by the Church, is put to silence, by modernists and liberalists…
How many a voice-of-peace by innocent people, is put to silence, by fanatics and fundamentalists…
How many a voice-of-indiscrimination by the citizens, is put to silence, by a negligent government…
How many a voice-of-repentance by a spouse, is put to silence by a drunkard or an irresponsible partner…
How many a voice-of-holiness by the Lord, is put to silence, by superfluous spiritualities and comfy theologies..
The Voice of Truth cries…..but how many of us, seek to silence it!
Yes, the lives of Conscience-movers and truth-tellers are always at a risk.
And this risk can even lead one to be a misfit in the society…
… to be “different from others”
… to even risk one’s life!
St John the Baptist had the courage to be the truth-teller and risk his life, even to be a martyr.
What are the characteristics of a True Martyr?
- Martyrs get killed not just for their convictions….but for EXPRESSING their convictions:
‘Play Safe’ is an ad-tag in which many Christians find refuge.
“Keep your mouth shut”…
“Don’t offend people around us”…
“It is better to be silent than sorry”…
These are some of the common phrases which we Christians adopt, in moments of injustice, corruption, inequality & unfairness!
But true Martyrs EXPRESSED and ARTICULATED and DISPLAYED and UTTERED their faith!….
Yes, they WITNESSED their FAITH as a true MARTYR!
A true Martyr is a bold Witness!
St John the Baptist was not silent…he expressed and articulated the mistakes…and he was martyred!
- Martyrs don’t get swayed by popular opinions and cheap popularity
A true martyr is not one who checks the pulse of public opinion & makes a statement to please and satisfy people.
He has the guts…
… to go against an oppressive and discrimination culture
… to voice out against an unjust and demeaning authority
… to stand firm in the midst of rippled spiritualities and patterns!
St John the Baptist was unfazed and unmoved before the Royal immoral powers….and he was martyred!
- Martyrs are willing and prepared to lay down their lives.
Martyrs are not sadists or escapists… who want to die for some pleasure / even to run away from the grinds of life!
Rather, they are people who are wholly prepared & enthusiastically willing to die, for the sake of their convictions!
They are passionate and intensely in love with their faith and their convictions!
They are unaffected and impassive to the dangers and risks that are involved!
St John the Baptist knew that he was walking precariously on the rope of risks…
… and he was always ready for it!
Today, You and I….are invited to be a voice…
… in a voiceless
… in a voice-oppressed
… in a voice-drowned
… in a voice-killed…world!
St John the Baptist dared to be that VOICE – “I am the voice…!” (Jn 1:23)
Shall we too dare?
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE IMPORTANCE OF SACRED SCRIPTURE AND SACRED TRADITION
Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, are bound closely together…
… and communicate one with the other.
For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing…
… and move towards the same goal.
Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the Mystery of Christ…