Posted on August 29th, 2012
New school year – excitement, mixed with fear.
In everything that causes us concern, Ps. 31 tells us how to respond: “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust…. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.”
These were the words of our Lord Jesus on the cross. We don’t know what John’s demeanor was when he was beheaded, but we can infer based upon the praise our Lord gives him that he died well.
From the Gospel lesson today we learn many things:
- Sexual lust will destroy you. Call upon God to keep you free from this evil. Whether you are married or not, ask Him to give you chastity. Avert your eyes when temptation is set before you.
- Herod at a party makes a reckless promise. Drinking and parties lead to recklessness, recklessness leads to sin.
- Herod then is manipulated into beheading John the Baptist. He doesn’t want to do it, but feels he must since he made an oath. But it is better to do the right thing, even if it means breaking a promise, if the promise was something you shouldn’t have made.
- John ended up in this situation because he preached the truth. In your vocation you will be called to speak the truth. As the Apostle tells us, we should always speak the truth in love – but speak it nonetheless. If it will cost you, do not fear. Do what is right, and fear not. For the Gospel reading ends today with a corpse – but it ends for good with a living body. All problems are resolved in the corpse of the martyr, most especially the corpse of our Lord JESUS Christ. And the end is in the resurrection. Throughout this school year, point your students to this one great reality: that in the cross and resurrection of JESUS the entire history of man is summed up, and the entire future of man is foreshadowed. Everything else is in service to that: lesson plans and gradebooks, discipline standards and unfortunate events, field trips and chapel: everything should point toward the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body. For this reason John the Baptist lost his head, but saved his life.
Rough outline of sermon for school faculty and staff at Matins