Thursday, August 29, 2013

John the Baptist's call to chastity: Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, August 29th, 2013 (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)

            It is fitting that the precursor of our Lord preceded Jesus in both birth and death.
            It is crucial to understand why John the Baptist was martyred: “John had said to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’”  Presumably Herod was a lustful man.  Against the law he took his brothers wife—his sister-in-law.  Then he was “delighted” by his young niece’s dance…creepy.  John the Baptist stood for the good news of marriage and chastity.
            In the United States our culture is failing in chastity.  Pornography is a multi-billion dollar institution.  The divorce rate is nearing 60% and many marriages fail from infidelity.  Couples are living together before marriage, contraception is the norm and primetime television features fornication, adultery and affairs.  We have even lost an understanding of what marriage is.
            God does not make up arbitrary rules to keep us from having fun.  In our human sexuality we receive one of God’s greatest gifts—so good that when a man and woman unite (please, God, this is in marriage) a new life may be formed.  Through His Church God shows us the road to true happiness and fulfillment through chastity.
            Everyone is called to chaste living whether single, married or in religious life or priesthood.  We strive to honor the great gift of our sexuality, to make decisions that affirm our call to be united with God and neighbor based on our age and state of life.
            We are called to witness to chaste living in our world which is desperate for this good news.  We are also to take a stand for the truth—in love—by promoting a culture of purity and reverence for God’s gifts. 
            In this task we ask St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

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