Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! 13 The Lord looks down from heaven, he sees all the sons of men; 18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19 that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. 21 Yea, our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Reflection for the day: “He is a model of uprightness and courage in defending the truth, for which he was prepared to pay in his person, even to the point of imprisonment and death.” — Pope St. John Paul II regarding St. John the Baptist