Today's Gospel: Matthew 14, 1-12
Today's readings all have a theme: following God is not easy and often results in facing great hostility. Jeremiah faced a hostile nation when he preached God's message. The Psalmist cries out for God's help when he feels all is lost. And the Gospel reminds of us about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. There are times when we might feel as if following Christ is just too hard: we might lose friends over our faithfulness to the Lord. We might lose opportunities because of our convictions.
Our readings today seem to end on a down note. The Gospel finishes with Herod having John the Baptist killed for his preaching, all at the request of his step-daughter and wife, who hated John for boldly telling Herod that he had sinned by marrying his brother's wife. And yet we know the end of the story: John lost his life in this world, only to gain Heaven in the next. Even as we read these passages today, don't lose sight of our goal: eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
Do you ever feel like you're swimming upstream by living a faithful Catholic life? Use today's readings to remind yourself that you are not alone in the struggle to live your faith in an increasingly secular world. We can hold each other up through prayer and trust that God will not abandon us in the end.
Heavenly Father, help me to remember that You will never leave me and that I am not alone, even when I feel like the whole world is against me. Remind me that You hold me in the palm of Your hand.
Copyright 2016 Christine Johnson
Christine is a wife and homeschooling mother of two high school daughters. She and her family live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and they love to travel together. She's a Lay Dominican, blogs at Domestic Vocation, is a regular contributor at CatholicMom.com, and is active on Twitter (@CatholicMomVA).