Daily Reflection – Aug 29, 2017
Tuesday 29 August 2017
First Reading:1 THES 2:1-8
You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
Psalm PS 139:1-3, 4-6
Gospel Reading: Mark MK 6:17-29
Today’s Saint: The Passion of Saint John the Baptist (Memorial)
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.
O Lord, you have probed me and you know me. (Psalm 139:1)
There is only one person besides the Virgin Mary and Jesus himself who has a feast day for both his birth and his death, and that’s John the Baptist. This last and greatest of prophets accomplished so much by preparing the way for the Lord, and yet he ended his days in Herod’s jail, awaiting execution. Let’s try to imagine what he might have said to the Lord as he sat alone in the dark.
“Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Not only did you call me to be the herald of your Messiah, but you also placed me in his family tree. I am anxious as the threat of death hangs over me, but still I will trust that you won’t abandon me.
“Lord, my mother, Elizabeth, told me how I leapt in her womb when Mary came to visit her. She told me how the Holy Spirit filled her and me with joy because we were in the presence of your Son. Thank you for giving me the grace to recognize him, even though both of us were hidden from view. Help me to cling to these memories, even as I cling to the last days of my life.
“You know, Lord, how stunned I was when Jesus came to me for baptism. My human understanding couldn’t make sense of it; why would he, the Redeemer of Israel, need a baptism of repentance? But then I heard your voice from heaven, and I saw your Spirit come upon him like a dove, and I began to understand. You showed me that he was not just the Messiah, but the Lamb of God who would take away all of our sins. Once again your Spirit filled me with joy as he opened my eyes to your marvelous plan.
“Now as I sit here wondering what will happen to me, I ask you to send your Spirit again. Give me the courage and trust and faith that I need to face whatever my future holds. Lord, help me to stay faithful to you to the end.”
“Holy Spirit, inspire me the way you inspired John the Baptist. Help me recognize Jesus today, and fill me with trust in your plan.”