The Passion of
Saint John the Baptist
“Beheading” is a word we hear too often today in the media. This cruel act is re-counted for us again in today’s readings from Scripture as we remember the beheading of St. John the Baptist. The account of this event describes the self-centered motives of King Herod. He is a person who has set himself as the center of his universe. Words from the current International Charter for Compassion stand in clear contrast to Herod’s motives.
“Compassion impels us to de-throne ourselves from the center of our world and put another there.” (International Charter for Compassion)
Herod’s motives also are illustrated in Pope Francis’ new encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’”.
“When human beings place themselves at the center, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative. Hence we should not be surprised to find, in conjunction with the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power, the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests.” (Laudato Si’, Paragraph 122)
John the Baptist preached alone against Herod’s self-centered relativism and it cost him his head. Today is a good day to take a moment and reflect; where do I place myself in my universe? Am I at the center? Or am I making every compassionate effort to place another there?
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of the Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.