by St. John Chrysostom
From On Living Simply: The Golden Voice of John Chrysostom, #64, compiled by Robert Van de Weyer
Human beings are not consistent in the choices they make. One moment a person may choose to act in a most generous and self-sacrificing way; then a moment later the same person may at with greed and selfishness. Since God has given us freedom of will, e does nothing to prevent this inconstancy. Does this mean that human begins are actually incapable of following Christ? Will they constantly stray from the path of love that he reveals? The answer is both no and yes. We who regard ourselves as disciples of Christ are sadly away of our own sinful tendencies. Indeed it is precisely because we know Christ, and can see his perfection, that we are so conscious of our imperfections; the comparison between ourselves and Christ is painful to behold. This we will always be inclined to stray from the path of love; day by day we will make wrong choices. Yet even to speak about “straying from the path” is to show that we can see the path and can discern the direction it leads. To be a disciple of Christ is not a guarantee of always remaining on the path; rather it is a commitment – a promise – to stay as near to the path as the will allows, and to struggle back onto the path after straying. This is as much as we can undertake in our own strength; through the grace of God we hope that over the years our journey will become straighter.
The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner
The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner. You were shown in truth to be the most honorable of the prophets, for you were deemed worthy to baptize in the streams of the Jordan Him whom they foretold. Therefore, having suffered for the truth with joy, you proclaimed to those in hell God who appeared in the flesh, who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great mercy.
Kontakion - Tone 5
The glorious beheading of the Forerunner, became an act of divine dispensation, for he preached to those in hell the coming of the Savior. Let Herodias lament, for she entreated lawless murder, loving not the law of God, nor eternal life, but that which is false and temporal.