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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings

The Anti-God Family

Submitted by on Saturday, 30 July 2011One Comment

johnbaptist-beheaded

  • Reading I:  Leviticus 25:1,8-17
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 67
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:1-12

From the Compendium of Social Doctrines, 25

The precepts of the sabbatical and jubilee years constitute a kind of social doctrine in miniature[Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 13: AAS 87 (1995), 14]. They show how the principles of justice and social solidarity are inspired by the gratuitousness of the salvific event wrought by God, and that they do not have a merely corrective value for practices dominated by selfish interests and objectives, but must rather become, as a prophecy of the future, the normative points of reference to which every generation in Israel must conform if it wishes to be faithful to its God.

These principles become the focus of the Prophets’ preaching, which seeks to internalize them. God’s Spirit, poured into the human heart — the Prophets proclaim — will make these same sentiments of justice and solidarity, which reside in the Lord’s heart, take root in you (cf. Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezek 36:26-27). Then God’s will, articulated in the Decalogue given on Sinai, will be able to take root creatively in man’s innermost being. This process of internalization gives rise to greater depth and realism in social action, making possible the progressive universalization of attitudes of justice and solidarity, which the people of the Covenant are called to have towards all men and women of every people and nation.

On the Beheading of the Baptist

The biblical account portrays the beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod had imprisoned John because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis), and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I. On Herod’s birthday, Herodias’ daughter (traditionally named Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When the daughter asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison. [Source]

If there is a "holy" family like that of Joachim and Anne and Mary, there is also an "anti-God" family. Herod, Herodias and Salome present themselves as a "family" that flaunts an adulterous union, the manipulation of a child (or a teen-ager?), and a woman’s desire for revenge helped along by a husband’s lack of principles. Their victim: the last great prophet of Israel.

Leviticus 25:1,8-17
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1And the Lord spoke to Moses in mount Sinai, saying:
8Thou shalt also number to thee seven weeks of years, that is to say, seven times seven, which together make forty-nine years:
9And thou shalt sound the trumpet in the seventh month, the tenth day of the month, in the time of the expiation in all your land.
10And thou shalt sanctify the fiftieth year, and shalt proclaim remission to all the inhabitants of thy land: for it is the year of jubilee. Every man shall return to his possession, and every one shall go back to his former family:
11Because it is the jubilee and the fiftieth year. You shall not sow, nor reap the things that grow in the field of their own accord, neither shall you gather the firstfruits of the vines,
12Because of the sanctification of the jubilee: but as they grow you shall presently eat them.
13In the year of the jubilee all shall return to their possessions.
14When thou shalt sell any thing to thy neighbour, or shalt buy of him; grieve not thy brother: but thou shalt buy of him according to the number of years from the jubilee.
15And he shall sell to thee according to the computation of the fruits.
16The more years remain after the jubilee, the more shall the price increase: and the less time is counted, so much the less shall the purchase cost. For he shall sell to thee the time of the fruits.
17Do not afflict your countrymen, but let every one fear his God: because I am the Lord your God.
Matthew 14:1-12
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1At the time Herod the Tetrarch heard the fame of Jesus.
2And he said to his servants: This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works shew forth themselves in him.
3For Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias, his brother's wife.
4For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet.
6But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod.
7Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him.
8But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist.
9And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given.
10And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.
12And his disciples came and took the body, and buried it, and came and told Jesus.
Jeremiah 31:33
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

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