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All Issues > Volume 29, Issue 5

<< Thursday, August 29, 2013 >> Beheading of
St. John the Baptizer

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
View Readings
Psalm 90:3-5, 12-14, 17 Matthew 24:42-51 or
Mark 6:17-29

Similar Reflections


"Herodias harbored a grudge against him for this and wanted to kill him." —Mark 6:19

Possibly the only one at Herod's birthday who wanted John beheaded was Herodias. Herod didn't want to kill John (Mk 6:20), and Herodias' daughter didn't think to ask for John's head until her mother put her up to it (Mk 6:24). Moreover, most of the people at Herod's birthday party may have thought it wrong to behead John. Even people with warped consciences can see the evil in the act of putting a freshly cut human head on a platter and parading it around a cocktail party.

One person can get away with committing an atrocity which no one else accepts when everyone is paralyzed to do anything about it. Herod was paralyzed by pride. Herodias' daughter may have been trapped by confusion or fear. Herod's guests were paralyzed by their egos, fears, or political ambitions.

Babies in the womb are murdered. Neighborhoods become paranoid through violence. Refugees are left to starve. Thousands upon thousands of people are annihilated through war. Yet hardly anyone wants abortion, violence, starvation, or war. These things happen because a thousand paralyzed Herods and party guests won't stop one Herodias. Conversely, one free, bold John the Baptizer will ultimately stop thousands of Herodiases. The Lord commands us: "Stand up and tell them all that I command you" (Jer 1:17).

Prayer: Father, make me fearless, resolute, pure, and free.
Promise: "May the Lord increase you and make you overflow with love for one another and for all, even as our love does for you." —1 Thes 3:12
Praise: In serving Jesus, St. John proclaimed that serving God was his "joy, and it is complete" (Jn 3:29).
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013.
The Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 29, Issue 5
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