29 August 2009

Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

29 AUGUST 2009. Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist.

St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ's arrival, was killed under Herod's order of beheading. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story in this manner:
Now Herod had arrested John, bound (him), and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, for John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet. But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.
(Matthew 14:3-12).

Today we pray that just as John the Baptist had the courage to cry out the Name of Christ and condemn the evil he witnessed, we too will have the courage to act rightly and not condone evil by our silence.

Andrea del Verrocchio (1477-1480), Florence, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

No comments:

Post a Comment