“Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, ‘This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.’”
We all know that Herod was responsible for the death of John the Baptist. He had him killed after the daughter of Herodias danced for him. The first to lose his head was not John but Herod!
“I want to know.” “Let me know.” “You can tell me!” “Go ahead, I can take it.” “What do you think?” “What’s on your mind?” We encourage others to be open, to speak their mind, to share their thoughts and ideas. We think we are strong. We are not! How quickly a friendship can deteriorate when a friend insists on picking our brains and ends up taking a pick axe to it!
We take pride in our Constitution, especially the amendments, especially the first amendment. We love to see freedom of speech in action. We love debates, comments, chat rooms and open forums. But we are no different from others. It isn’t that we fear being wronged; it’s that we do not like to be wrong, and we take offense to it.
We have no problems telling others what’s good for them. We have no problem telling others what we think they want to hear and not necessarily what they need to hear. We tell them that this or that will make them stronger and better; that it will keep them humble. We can give them a thousand reasons why they should not give into pressure or be disheartened. These types of conversations are like an illness. An illness can make you better, stronger, more grateful and less wasteful. But in the end, the only good or virtuous illness is the one that someone else has.
Again, not too many of us look forward to a frank conversation, a truthful dialogue, a call into the CEO’s office. Freedom of speech is a beautiful ideal that can quickly dissolve into a fit of rage where mud, slime and filth are spoken as a means to my self-defense!
In many ways, we have become a much weaker nation, a weaker people because only the “experts”, those authorized to speak, are allowed to share their opinions and thoughts on life. Once upon a time, everyone danced in a little town. Today, if you want to dance, you have to take dancing lessons. A friend can no longer give me his two cents. A penny for your thoughts has become a clever way to file a lawsuit! Only a strong person is willing to ask for an honest opinion, and there are very few honest opinions shared because there are very few strong people left. We prefer to hear a lie, like Herod and Herodias.
John the Baptist was not an expert in marital relations. He was not a welcomed liar. He spoke honestly and truthfully, and he was contained. He was silenced before he even knew it; buried before his friends could mourn. But he came back to life. John the Baptist was replaced by Jesus of Nazareth. And this time, as hard as they try, the truth could not be buried because the Truth is a Person who knows his way out of the grave! The truth can no longer be silenced because his voice is heard throughout the world! His words are found in Sacred Scripture. His life is found in the eyes of the Saints. The names may change throughout the centuries, but the truth remains. The truth can no longer be beheaded because the Truth is found in the Body of Christ.
Here we are. We are witnesses to Christ. The truth has set us free. We have nothing to fear. We have much to do. Guided by the Spirit, encouraged by His fruits and aided by the family of God, we can see the truth better than ever in a world more fractured and divided. This world continues to be plagued by sin and surrounded in fear. “I am the truth, the way and the life” says the Lord. I have come to set you free. “Whoever hears my voice, hears the Truth and the Truth shall set you free!”