Speaking the truth to deadly force
Every once in a while it can even seem a little puerile: like being congratulated for talking back to one’s parents, instead of just being an adult and involving oneself in the responsibilities and processes of political discourse and representative government – while remaining always faithful to the Truth.
In today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:1-12) we have a true example of “speaking the truth to power”: in a world of kings and emperors for whom massacres are a frequent tool of power, John the Baptist tells a king he is doing something wrong in his personal and public life.
John did not say it to make himself feel good or look good. He simply tells the truth.
Indeed, in that environment, he is not just “speaking the truth to power”: he is speaking the truth to deadly force – and he is killed for it.
Thanks be to God, most of us live in societies with political and other freedoms, where we can be faithful to the Truth and work effectively within the political and governmental spheres.
Most of us will not be in a position to have to speak the truth to deadly power – although it may sometimes come to that.
Always and everywhere, however, to the powerful (conservative or liberal) and to the helpless, we must speak the Truth and love of Christ.