29 August 2019. Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist
Reflection (Sem. Peter Collin C. Crisostomo)
Today’s Gospel provides us the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. His voice crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths,” (cf. Mk. 1:3), shows us how he has given way for the coming of the Messiah.
His death did not go in vain because the price is right. What do I mean? His death inspires Jesus to persevere more to continue His ministry. Even though imprisoned, St. John the Baptist, did not hesitate to know and speak for the Truth. He even sent his disciples to know Jesus more. He was brave enough to embrace death on account of the Truth. He was humble enough to accept that He was not the Messiah, but just a precursor.
I am invited to model my vocation journey to John the Baptist being the precursor. In everything I do, I do it for the glory of God.
In one spiritual book I read, the author introduces John the Baptist as the “Friend of the Bridegroom.” When the bridegroom comes, the friend fades in the background to let the bridegroom shine. His life is a life of humility and love for Truth. In my vocation journey to the priesthood, I am challenged to follow his examples and in the midst of trials, I am asked to anchor my whole life to Jesus, the true giver of salvation.
The Gospel Today
Mark 6: 17 – 29
Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“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.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.