St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

The Beheading of St. John the Baptist - August 29 / Septenber 11, 2007

by Fr. Rodney Torbic

Mark 6:14-30

Today the Holy Orthodox Church remembers the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Beheading is a gruesome act. It was used in the time of the St. John the Baptist. Beheadings still occur today.

Individuals seeking to silence those who speak the truth resort to violent means when necessary. St. John the Baptist is prominent among the faithful martyred for Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ once said: "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." (Mt. 11:11). Even with this high standing described by the Lord, John the Baptist was not spared a martyr's death.

In each generation, Christ-loving people suffer. Some are murdered. Some are robbed. Some are raped. Some are assaulted. Some experience devastating accidents or disease.

When violence or illness or tragedy strikes Christ-loving persons, surviving loved ones are left with finding peace and understanding. Peace and understanding come through Jesus Christ.

Peace and understanding come through prayer. Peace and understanding come through partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ. Peace and understanding come from anointing with the Holy Oil.

God provides the necessary strength for survivors and loved ones of victims of violence, tragedies and devastating illness. God provides the direction. God provides the healing.

Pain is a part of the healing process. Emotional pain can be severe when a loved one departs this life through violent means, through a tragic accident or as a result of devastating illness.

Those who followed and loved John the Baptist had to contend and come to terms with his violent death. Lovers of Christ in each generation must learn of and from His Crucifixion.

Believers of each generation have to learn to live with violence and tragedy. Believers of each generation draw hope from the Resurrected Christ. Believers of each generation draw hope from the anticipated Glorious Second Coming of Christ.

The violence Christians experience dramatically affects and may end their earthly life. At Holy Baptism, believers profess belief in the resurrection of the dead. At each Divine Liturgy, this belief in the resurrection of the dead is restated.

The words of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians give hope. The Holy Apostle said: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." (I Thess. 4:16)

On this September 11, 2007, when death and devastation are on the minds of many throughout the world, let us draw strength, comfort and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ.

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