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Doctrines & Morals

The Beheading of John the Baptist

1 Cor. 1:26-31, Mk 6:17-29. Today’s memorial honours the great forerunner of Jesus, who gave his life for the truth, about a year before the Passion of Jesus, whose death on the Cross he prophesy about, when he said: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” From childhood, he was directed by Spirit to lead an austere and contemplative life in the desert to discharge his mission as a preacher of reform and renewal. Clothed in the robes of penance, he invited his people to have their sins washed away by repentance and baptism in the Jordan; and he proclaimed the Messiah whose herald he was. He was revered by the people as a true prophet of God and his voice rang out with a clear summons to moral and religious reform. Herod had the same respect for John the Baptist as a great prophet and messenger of God, but out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded.

At a splendid entertainment in the royal palace, Salome, the daughter of Philip and Herodias, captivated the guests by her dancing, so that Herod promised to grant her whatever she asked as recorded in today's Gospel. In John the Baptist, the light of the Lord’s presence shines in our darkness, in the dark and difficulty experiences of life. Jesus spoke of John as a “burning and shining lamp.” John the Baptist is a great inspiration for us to allow the light of our faith to shine, the light of the Gospel, even when it is not popular or convenient to do so. Our calling is to allow the light we have received in baptism to shine brightly, in season and out of season. There is an urgent need to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. Such powerful light cannot come from us but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God.

May the Lord fortify us with faith and courage when we face adversity! Amen!! Be safe and have a gracious weekend!!!

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