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Fessing Up

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

“‘I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, ‘I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.’ The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head.” (Mark 6:23-27)

In beheading John the Baptist, Herod believed he was forced to do something he knew was wrong, because he refused to admit he’d made a mistake. (In reality, he had other choices, such as refusing the girl’s request outright or offering her another, more attractive choice. He was the king, after all.) The situation would have been avoided entirely had Herod faced his fear and let John out of prison.

Sometimes, when we make the wrong choices, we’d be better off “fessing up” when we realize our mistake rather than waiting and hoping nobody notices. Herod knew it was wrong to keep John in prison. As my grandma always used to say, two wrongs don’t make a right.

The stakes were much lower, but this reminds me of a time when I was little. I kept playing with my mom’s favorite bracelet. It was made of pink shells. My dad had given it to her when they went to Hawaii while he was on leave from Vietnam. I loved to wear it to play dress up and pretend I was a hula dancer. Even though my mom asked me not to play with it because of its sentimental value, I went against her wishes often. One day, I stretched it too far and broke the band that held the shells together. Instead of telling her right away, I tried to fix it myself and did more damage than if I’d just told her right away and let her repair it. I didn’t get in trouble, but what happened was worse. My mom cried and put the remains of the bracelet in a baggie and kept it in her jewelry box. It may still be there.

When we make a mistake, it’s up to us to use God’s Word to guide us in fixing the problem. Through courage, prayer and faith, God will help us find a way.


God, as we remember the Passion of St. John the Baptist,

help us remember his faith, his strength and his courage

and how he stood strong in spreading God’s Word even when it endangered his life.

Thank You for forgiving us when we make the wrong choices

and please help us to make the right choices more often.

Help us have the courage to repair the harm we cause when we fail.

In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Jen McKeown
Director, Education Events, Avera

1 THESSALONIANS 3:7-13 ● PSALM 90:3-5A, 12-13, 14 AND 17 ● MARK 6:17-29

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