As you may have noticed, the blog is on the back burner these days. We began the home school year here in the house, classes begin at WCC next Tuesday, and baby Matthew continues to be an intense little man.
Nonetheless, I want to toss up at least a quick thought on the feast of the beheading of John the Baptist. Liturgically, he is celebrated as a martyr, as one who died for the faith, and traditional commentators explain that because he died for the truth he also died for the Truth, which is Christ. One wonders how far the argument can stretch, and whether anyone at all who dies “for the truth” is a martyr.
But before we go too far in that direction, let’s recall the specific truth for which John died. John, who called himself “the friend of the Bridegroom” (John 3:29), was beheaded because he said loudly and publically that Herod Antipas should not have divorced his wife and married another woman who herself had been in a previous marriage to his own half-brother. He died for the truth about marriage.
The close connection between marriage and Christ is worth pondering in our day–as is the connection between a public stance and martyrdom.
Pope Francis seems to hold that this would apply in general: “In this Sunday’s Gospel resound some of Jesus’ most incisive words: “Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Lk 9:24). This is a synthesis of Christ’s message, and it is expressed very effectively in a paradox, which shows us his way of speaking, almost lets us hear his voice…. But what does it mean “to lose one’s life for the sake of Jesus”? This can happen in two ways: explicitly by confessing the faith, or implicitly… Read more »