August 29, 2016
The Gospel Today
Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
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.
REFLECTION (Sem. Mark Ian V. Abu)\
The whole life of Jesus here on earth was a faithful witnessing to that love that He shares with His Father and which emanates through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This love is what Jesus offers when he calls us to be His followers. A love that is ready to witness to the truth by the way we listen and act on the Word of God. A love that is willing to sacrifice for the good of others. A love that inspires us, as Jesus’ servants, to do what we ought to do as Christians. Our modern world offers many things that distract us from being faithful witnesses to this great love. People nowadays focus their attention to what will give personal satisfaction. We are becoming engrossed with a lifestyle that answers only our personal longings and ambitions. Moreover, we are normally preoccupied by the things that will make us rich and popular. But these are not the characteristics of being a servant and witness of the Word. As followers of Christ, we should hear the Word and live it as a servant must do for his master. Furthermore, we must proclaim Jesus as Lord and obey the will of the Father.
We celebrate today the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, the precursor of the Lord. St. John, from the beginning of his life up to the end remained faithful and always on the side of the truth. He is one of the perfect examples of how to be a servant of the Word. Though there was a great temptation, he did not exult himself as the savior who is to come; rather he always pointed to Jesus and remained as His servant. He was conceived and was born proclaiming the greatness of the Lord and died dying for the sake of the same Lord who is the Truth.
Let us pray to God that He may continue to inspire us to fulfill with integrity and truthfulness our duties and responsibilities to our families, communities and other circles of relationships that we have as His faithful servants.