Wednesday, August 28, 2019
THURSDAY, 21ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist
1 Thes 4: 9 – 11 / Mk 6: 17 – 29
FROM THE GOSPEL READING: Mk 6: 17 – 28
Herod had ordered John to be arrested and had him bound and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herod had married her and John had told him, "It is not right for you to live with your brother's wife.."
So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because Herod respected John. He knew John to be an upright and holy man and kept him safe. And he liked listening to him, although he became very disturbed whenever he heard him.
Herodias had her chance at Herod's birthday, when he gave a dinner for all the senior government officials, military chiefs and leaders of Galilee.
On that occasion the daughter of Herodias came in and danced; and she delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want and I will give it to you. . . " "I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom."
She went out to consult her mother, "What shall I ask for?" The mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist." The girl hurried to the king and made her request, "I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist, here and now, on a dish."
The king was very displeased, but he would not refuse in front of his guests because of his oaths.. So he sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John's head.. He went and beheaded John in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl. And the girl gave it to her mother.
John the Baptist's role in salvation history was to immediately prepare for the coming of the Messiah. His birth was foretold by an angel, "This son of yours will be great in the eyes of God . . . Through him many of the people of Israel will turn to the Lord their God. He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of Elijah.." (Lk 1: 15 -17)
The Prologue of John's Gospel summarizes the role of John: "A man came, sent by God, his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light but a witness to introduce the Light." (Jn 1: 6 – 8). John introduced Jesus, "There is the Lamb of God." (Jn 1: 36)
And Jesus himself acknowledged John's greatness, "I tell you this: no one greater than John the Baptist has come forward among the sons of women, and yet the least in the kingom of heaven is greater than he." (Mt 11: 11)
It is then but fitting that John crowned his witness to the Messiah and to the truth with his martyrdom.
FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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