The Beheading of St. John the Baptist
I know. It seems strange to call it a feast, but it is a day that we remember how St. John gave up his life for speaking the truth. Jesus said of him, “of all those born of women, there is no other greater than John the Baptist, yet the smallest in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than him.”
St. John the Bapist lived his life for one purpose: that is to be the herald of the Messiah. He was focused, and brutally honest, a characteristic which earned him his crown.
On this Feast day, may we remember how the early followers of Christ gave their lives for the good of the Kingdom.
Today’s Gospel: Mark 6: 17-29.
At that time, Herod had sent and taken John, and bound him in prison, because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had said to Herod, It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife. But Herodias laid snares for him, and would have liked to put him to death, but she could not. For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and protected him; and when he heard him talk, he did any things, and he liked to hear him. And a favorable day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet to the officials, tribunes and chief men of Galilee. And Herodias’ own daughter having come in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, Ask of me what you will, and I will give it to you. And he swore to her, Whatever you ask, I will give you, even though it be the half of my kingdom. Then she went out and said to her mother, What am I to ask for? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in at once with haste to the king, and asked, saying, I want you right away to give me on a dish the head of John the Baptist. And grieved as he was, the king because of his oath and his guests, was unwilling to displease her. But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head be brought on a dish. Then he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head on a dish, and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. His disciples, hearing of it, came and took away his body, and laid it in a tomb.