At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’
The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother.
His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
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.
During his life, John the Baptist’s message about the coming of a new king gains popularity among Herod’s subjects, leading to the Baptist’s imprisonment. This powerful king is to come without an army, without a country and not descending from the royal lineage. He was a threat to the rule of Herod and other worldly principalities.
Eventually, Herod will dispatch not only the Baptist, but Jesus, the King prophesied by John. Herod won the battle but lost the war.
No earthly ruler can promise what Christ has given us: unconditional love, forgiveness, and eternal life. Our current times may make us feel anxious or overwhelmed. Jesus’s true presence with us is summed up in the words of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”
The Eucharist is the sustenance which nourishes and helps us win the war over earthly lamentations.
—Curt Robey is awaiting ordination into the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Chicago this autumn. Curt & his wife Sally live in Wilmette, IL and are the parents of four children who attended Loyola Academy & Saint Ignatius College Prep.
Lord Jesus, you are the king who came to save our world, although you did not come in the way people expected. We thank you for the gift of your love and forgiveness and recognize your presence throughout our lives. May we always seek to grow closer to you. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!