READING OF THE DAY
A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians
1 Cor 2:1-5
When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY
From the Gospel according to Mark
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.
Monday of 21th Week in Ordinary Time
Saint John the Baptist – Memorial
GOD’S WORD FOR US
Dear People of God,
Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist, the Word of God in today’s Gospel tells of King Herod beheaded a special prophet of God, that is, the prophet John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Savior. He called everyone to make the way straight to wait for the Son of God who come to earth as a man, and die to atone for the sins of mankind.
John the Baptist was a righteous prophet of God who always walked in truth and justice. He dares to speak the truth and condemn those who live unjustly and those who live in sin and passion. Especially, he dared to warn a very powerful King, Herod: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Through the work of the prophet John the Baptist, God wants to remind everyone: In this world, man must only fears God, and do everything according to His will, not to be afraid of anyone or any power of the world.
John the Baptist came into the world to call people to repent, turn from their sins and return to God. He had the courage to speak up to expose the wrongdoing, the sin of King Herod, and was finally killed by the king. In fact, being a righteous prophet, Saint John the Baptist always walked in the grace and light of God, so he did not fear death.
Today, God’s prophets must also follow the example of Saint John the Baptist, daring to speak up in the streets, daring to speak up to defend the truth, daring to speak up to expose the wrongs and sins of the leaders in the Church. God wants His prophets in this new age to be courageous, willing to give their own lives for God’s work, to stand up for the justice, to stand up for the truth. Only then it will be pleasing to God. Jesus himself, when he came to earth as a human, also brought the justice, brought the truth to the world to drive out evil, to expose the evil sins of man, to help people realize their sins, repent and be reconciled to God the Father.
The Word of God today invites everyone to stay awake, live and follow God the Father’s command: Do not go down the paths of sin, passion, hatred, division, or killing each other. For these evils will lead man away from God and lead to eternal death, as the image of King Herod, only by his passion for lust, power, and the honor of the world, did killed a righteous prophet of God. This is a sin before God.
God also said: Those who sincerely convert, and are determined to turn away from the path of sin and return to reconciliation with God, and live a righteous life will be loved, preserved, protected by God himself, guarded against Satan’s temptations and captivity. Morover, in the hereafter, they will enjoy the happiness of the Kingdom of Heaven with God.
Thanks be to God. Amen.