Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
With the reemergence of comic superheroes, a new phrase or question has developed, “What is your super power?” A question that helps us to think about the special gift or talent we possess that might assist others. The Church calls these charisms. They are the graces/gifts and talents given to us by God, intended to build up the Body of Christ.
Saint John the Baptist knew that his charism was to preach and proclaim the coming of the messiah. He held fast to his gift of preaching and teaching and put his life on the line to speak the truth when it came to confronting Herod Antipas about his marriage to his brother’s wife when his brother was still living. While Herod Antipas, a “king” with “power” could not stand up to the truth when his wife asked for the “head of John the Baptist”. He could not humble himself and say no to the request. It would have been “humbling” for him to do so. He might have seem weak. What would people think of a king not keeping a promise? Even a king of ancient Palestine felt pressure from his guests or at least he thought he knew what his guests wanted. Some might have been on the side of the Queen and some might have stood quietly by afraid to say something not wanting to go against the king or queen. Was there anyone there who did not agree with the request of the queen? Even in modern times not many people will step forward to ask questions or make objections when something is off track or unjust.
Do I have enough faith and courage to speak up when I know something is not right, true, or just?
When given power we need to know what to do with it. In the scriptures today we have great examples of the choices we have in using our “power” or charism. We can use it for a greater good and be humble to listen to others, they may be warning us that we are off track. Or we may use power to make us “king of the hill”. Walking over others and ignoring the truth as we climb up to what we think is our goal. Not an easy choice when “human wisdom”/society tells us that it is okay to climb our way up and if someone next to me is falling down well, too bad for them. Society may also tell us not to listen because the voices of others come from another group who is not for the same thing we are supporting. Wisdom comes when we have an openness to the voice of God that comes through others. Our faith says that we can all climb together helping each other to achieve our goals. In doing so we build up the “Body of Christ”
What are your gifts and talents? How are you using these to build up the “Body of Christ”?
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.