Gospel for August 29, 2008, Friday

Claretian Publications Inc.

Posted at Aug 29 2008 07:10 AM | Updated as of Sep 08 2008 04:13 AM

1st Reading: Jer 1:17–19

Gospel: Mk 6:17–29
Herod had ordered John the Baptist to be arrested and had him bound and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herod had married her and John had told him, "It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife." So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because Herod respected John. He knew John to be an upright and holy man and kept him safe. And he liked listening to him, although he became very disturbed whenever he heard him.

Herodias had her chance on Herod’s birthday, when he gave a dinner for all the senior government officials, military chiefs and the leaders of Galilee. On that occasion the daughter of Herodias came in and danced; and she delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask me for anything you want and I will give it to you." And he went so far as to say with many oaths, "I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom." She went out to consult her mother, "What shall I ask for?" The mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist." The girl hurried to the king and made her request: "I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist, here and now, on a dish."

The king was very displeased, but he would not refuse in front of his guests because of his oaths. So he sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded John in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl. And the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard of this, they came and took his body and buried it.

The capriciousness of a young girl put an end to John’s voice, but not his message. Because they were from God, the words of John the Baptist continue to resonate in our day and age: words that speak of the need to repent of our sins and prepare the way of the Lord.

Goodness can be silenced, but it cannot be repressed. Like a cork submerged it keeps resurfacing, such is its power to endure. Though forces of evil do succeed at times in doing great harm to the Church their power is limited and their legacy is short. The Word of God lasts forever!

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