Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, (c. 231AD-+c.251) Patron Saint of Sicily, Breast Cancer, Bakers and Natural Disasters
Letter to the Hebrews 13:1-8, Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 86-9abc, & Mark 6:14-29
The Dance of Salome by Benozzo Gozzoli, circa 1461
In today’s Gospel narrative, we learn why King Herod orders the beheading of John the Baptist. Herodias, Herod’s illegitimate wife, instigates the beheading. Their marriage is illegitimate because she is actually the wife of Herod’s brother Phillip. The beheading occurs due to Herod’s bragging and the making of a promise to his step-daughter. If he didn’t fulfill his promise to Herodias, he would lose face in front of his entire court and the Romans. We are all familiar with the promise of the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Due to his perverted sense of his “word of honor,” he grants the request, and John is beheaded.
The Gospel gives us a glimpse of two types of person. On the one hand, we have John the Baptist. He is strong, worthy of our admiration, and has a vast amount of credibility. He is not afraid of the truth. He speaks honestly, boldly, courageously, and openly. He is not afraid of the consequences of speaking a new type of truth.
On the other hand, there is Herod. A weak man who displays no backbone and is easily duped and lacks courage and conviction. His reaction to different people and events shows that he has a volatile and unreliable personality. Even though he had John arrested for “living an immoral life,” he admittedly “liked to listen to him.”
In our world, there are many “Herods.” We often hear how our Christian and moral principles are compromised regardless of the consequences they might bring. We know that as Catholic Christians, we must stand up for Christ and His Gospel message. We must have the courage and fortitude of our good Saint John the Baptist.
Question of the Day: How will you stand up for Christ and His Gospel message?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant that I may always be Your helper. Let me serve You with absolute faithfulness.