Happy Celebration, dear brothers and sisters!
But can we call the beheading of the Righteous Prophet a celebration?
In the Russian language, the word celebration is from the word idleness doing nothing and it happens from some event that we are experiencing, and such event can not only be joyful, but also sad and tragic when we have nothing else to care about, but to remember and live through this event over again. Today is such a celebration.
Sin destroys not only the person who commits it but everything around them. Sin destroyed not only Herod but being the king's son, it also destroyed the whole nation, slavishly decomposing it. And the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist convicted him of this.
Imagine this: having learned about sin, the Forerunner did not turn to look for sin in himself (the desert was nearby). He did not shut his eyes and did not pretend that nothing was happening at all. He did not start to justify the sin, telling about the fact that everything is ambiguous, and in general, there is no truth in this fallen world. He did not start remembering the merits of the king. He did not follow any other path. He simply told the truth.
And then we see the path of the truth in this world. So today, we remember this path. Today we honour and glorify it. Yes, the path of truth in this world is the cross. The path of truth in this world is always martyrdom. But this is the only way to the Kingdom of God. This is the only way, as accompanying Christ, as following Him. This is the only path of light in this world, which lies in evil, darkness, sin, and lies. With God's help, let us think about it today. How much do we stand in the truth? How sensitive are we to even simple truth, not some highly spiritual truths, but to simple human truth? It all starts with things that are completely simple and obvious. How sensitive are we to these simple and obvious things? How much have we learned not to close our eyes and ears, because it is more convenient in this world?
May the Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, whose memory we honour today, be both an example and a prayerful intercessor for us on the path of God, which means on the path of righteousness. We thank the Lord for the gift of the unity of life with Him, but every time you accept Christ [receiving communion], ask this question to yourself: how much am I able to follow Christ, and therefore the path of righteousness? How capable am I of being crucified with Christ on this path?
We thank the Lord for the gift of eternal life.
Glory to Thee, oh Lord! Glory to Thee, oh Lord! Glory to Thee, oh Lord!
Archpriest Demetrius Basalygo.
Hand-painted Icon of the Holy Prophet St John the Baptist and Forerunner of our Lord, created in the icon-painting studio of St Elisabeth Convent. You can order this icon as well as other high-quality products of the Convent's workshops in our online store here: https://catalog.obitel-minsk.com/
Let us all be conscious and worthy of the honour to be called Orthodox Christians... and seek peace within ourselves, so thousands will be saved around us.