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Home » Saint of the Day

The Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Submitted by on Monday, 29 August 2011No Comment

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96
  • Gospel Reading: Mark 6:17-29

Salome by Jean Benner, c. 1899

Martyrdom of the Baptist

On the New Evangelization

From the Gospel reading appointed for the Memorial in Mark 6:17-29, we read "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."

The King, although living a life of debauchery, felt something kindle in his heart when John preached. The truth was making an impact. As with any move of grace, the devil is quick to distract by re-ignited the fires of passion that the soul might be once again consumed with lust.

How like today, where the people who are hearing the Gospel and also being bombarded by messages laced with sensuality and images that inflame. It’s no wonder they condemn the messenger as self-righteous as everything in them is being drawn away from the righteousness of God.

However we find the world, giving up on sharing the gospel is not an option. I’m an example of one who was touched by God’s grace as my life was moving in the opposite direction.

Bill Bright was a Protestant minister who gave rise to the largest college movement for Christ in America as well as other parts of the world – Campus Crusade for Christ. He used to say, "success in witnessing [Ed – evangelization] is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God."

While we may not be able to control the recipient, we can prepare ourselves for the work of evangelization. The keys are found in Herod’s assessment of St. John the Baptist. He was holy and righteous.

By living our faith on a daily basis, through such disciplines as prayer, reading Scripture, attending daily Mass, praying the Offices of the Church and the Rosary, we can become equipped with His love and grace for this work. Our sharing of His Gospel can come through the power of His Spirit.

Many have described the results of evangelization as being a new birth – as men and women of all ages are "born again" by water and the Spirit. How does this new birth begin? By those in the womb of life encountering the One in Mary’s womb and leaping for joy. [Source]

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
View in: NAB NIV KJV Vulg Greek
13For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with him.
14For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who have slept.
15For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ, shall rise first.
16Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord.
17Wherefore, comfort ye one another with these words.
Mark 6:17-29
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
17For Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her.
18For John said to Herod: It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
19Now Herodias laid snares for him: and was desirous to put him to death, and could not.
20For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly.
21And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee.
22And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
23And he swore to her: Whatsoever thou shalt ask I will give thee, though it be the half of my kingdom.
24Who when she was gone out, said to her mother, What shall I ask? But she said: The head of John the Baptist.
25And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist.
26And the king was struck sad. Yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her:
27But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish.
28And he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish: and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29Which his disciples hearing came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Mark 6:17-29
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
17For Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her.
18For John said to Herod: It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
19Now Herodias laid snares for him: and was desirous to put him to death, and could not.
20For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly.
21And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee.
22And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
23And he swore to her: Whatsoever thou shalt ask I will give thee, though it be the half of my kingdom.
24Who when she was gone out, said to her mother, What shall I ask? But she said: The head of John the Baptist.
25And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist.
26And the king was struck sad. Yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her:
27But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish.
28And he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish: and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29Which his disciples hearing came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

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