August 29, 2012
Passion of John the Baptist
Mark 6: 17-29
For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.
When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”
Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
An innocent man loses his life so that a guilty man can save his honor. This ancient atrocity is repeated year after year as we defend our national and personal pride, no matter the cost in innocent lives or to the poor andhelpless. May we be as critical of our own strategies as we are of Herod.
—Margaret Silf, 2010: A Book of Grace-Filled Days © 2010 Loyola Press, Chicago IL. For more Ignatian spiritual resources from Loyola Press, please visit www.loyolapress.com
Lord, why is it more common for people to betray one another than to defend the person wrongly accused? It happens every day in the work place, in social gatherings, and in daily conversations. When position, power, image, and likeability are threatened, we frequently possess a styrofoam backbone that crumbles as the other’s reputation is decimated.
To escape the behavior of the everyday traitor, we must surrender to you and fill up on your love and protection. Surround us with co-workers, family members, and friends who strengthen our resolve to face conflict with truth and to remain loyal to the one wrongly accused.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
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