The story of John the Baptist’s beheading–full of drama, conspiracy, and, ultimately, violence–has inspired plays, operas, and paintings. This Gospel, however, speaks past violence and addresses the choices one makes in life. Herod could have rebuffed his daughter’s request, but he did not. Power, prestige, and fear of damaging his reputation as a bold leader impeded his making good choices.

We are always in danger of making choices that align us not with God, but with worldly desires. One bad choice can lead to a compromise here, and little laziness there, and soon we are no longer the committed follower of Christ we set out to be.   

How we will make choices? Will it be for expedience, fame or fortune? Or will we choose to be to mindful of others, thereby bringing justice to all, showing compassion to the needy, overcoming our selfishness? That choice is ours, everyday. 

―George P. Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, Chicago Chapter. He and his wife, Dorothy Turek, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and four grandchildren.