February 3, 2017
Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
That is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John 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.
Herodias 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.
His 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?”
Her mother 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. Maximilian B. Estayo)
I was installed a lector last December and I now face the challenge to be brave in proclaiming the Word of God. I am a person who is very opinionated, but it is another thing to speak for God.
Can I stand up to my faith and defend it even to the point of death? That is the ultimate question, for which I have no ready answer at the moment. Perhaps, as a first step, I should be able to live by the Word of God, so that with conviction, I can announce it to the world.
John the Baptist paid a stiff price for his boldness with God’s Word – his very head. He preached against immorality, to a man of the highest influence who was cavorting with his brother’s wife, and he lost his life for it.
If a Christian does not denounce wrongdoings, he tolerates it and he then amounts to nothing. God’s word is “sharper than a two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12). It cuts through the heart of both the speaker and the hearer. It is oftentimes not sweet to the ears.
Yet, there is no escaping every speaker from practicing Gospel values in his life so that what he speaks becomes his own guiding principle. I pray to God that I myself may rise to this challenge.