|The head of St. John the Baptist|
For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her."I suppose it is appropriate that the "homosexual marriage" law passed in New York on the feast of St. John the Baptist. The price John the Baptist paid for defending the sanctity of marriage was his head. What price are today's Christians willing to pay to denounce this abomination to God? Will you give up your job or your business to defend the principle of marriage between one man and one woman? Are you willing to face public ridicule and persecution? How will you protect your children from the onslaught of vicious propaganda from the public school system in favor of "homosexual marriage" and against Christianity?
And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
– Matthew 14:3-11
Adults, who should know better, are failing in their duty to protect children. Homosexuality is not just a mirror of the love between a man and a woman, except between the same sexes. Homosexuality is an expression of a creed that says sex should be a goal in itself, and that we should follow our passions wherever they lead. This same hedonist creed finds expression in non-marital heterosexual relations which have gained acceptance in our society.
The Catholic Church rejects this creed. Christian men and women should have as their goal to master their passions. Surely, we don't always succeed. This does not automatically make us hypocrites. If we approach God in true humility and with full regret for our actions, then He will always forgive us. This is His promise, the covenant He made with us through Christ's sacrifice on the Cross.
This week also marked the day that the Church remembers the death of St. Thomas More. He was beheaded by order of King Henry VIII in 1535. His head was put on public display on London Bridge. His crime was the same as that of St. John the Baptist, the defense of the sanctity of marriage. His defense was that the King's actions were contrary “to the laws of God and his holy Church.” Henry VIII broke off with the Roman Catholic Church as a result of the issue of the sanctity of marriage. This was the start of protestantism in England. It was born in a lust filled bed. This is a historical fact which cannot be denied.
Today the Christian church is being further divided over the issue of the sanctity of marriage. Some are willing to go along with the dictates of the culture. This has always been true. Didn't the Hebrew prophets condemn the ancient Israelites for their worship of local gods?
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that He departed to "a lonely place apart". But He was not able to be in solitude in this moment of grief because "when the crowds heard it, they followed Him". The response of Jesus was to perform the miracle of the loaves and the fishes, because "he had compassion" on the people.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.That evening He went "up on the mountain by himself to pray". But again His solitude was interrupted when a storm arose and threatened his disciples which were in a boat attempting to cross the nearby sea. Again, Jesus had compassion and walked out on the water towards the boat in order to rescue them. But when they saw Him they thought it was a ghost and cried out in fear.
When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me."
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
– Matthew 14:13-21
Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.Jesus showed compassion for His followers after the tragedy of the death of St. John the Baptist. He comforted them and reassured them by saying, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." But He also chastised them saying "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"
– Matthew 14:22-26
But immediately he spoke to them, saying, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." He said, "Come."What I want to say is that following the tragic death of John the Baptist, Jesus performed some of His greatest miracles. So at times like these, we should not be afraid or dejected. We should have faith and expect a miracle. Jesus frequently tests our faith before showing His compassion. This is how we grow ever stronger in our faith.
So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
– Matthew 14:27-32
And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
– Matthew 14:33