WEEK SEVENTEEN – SATURDAY – JULY 31, 2021 – BEHEADING OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (Mt 14:1-12)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, let me not be swayed by the opinions of others. 

Imagination:

Picture Herod with his party guests. 

Context:

Matthew shortens Mark’s long explanation of Herod’s party. He highlights what is familiar – the hatred of John by Herod’s wife and Herod’s foolish promise and killing of John.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Herod, the Tetrarch, heard of Jesus’ fame. He said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist risen from the dead. That is why he does mighty works.” Herod had put John in prison because of Herodias, his brother’s wife. 

John had said, “It is not lawful for you to have her. Herod wanted to kill John, but he feared the people who esteemed him as a prophet. 

On Herod’s birthday, Herodias’ daughter danced before his guests and pleased Herod. He then made a promise to give whatever she asked. Her mother said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 

The King was sad but because of his oath and his guests, he sent and had John beheaded. The head was given to the girl who gave it to her mother. His disciples buried the body and told Jesus. 

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Everything in this story is distorted. It begins with Herod’s fears. 
  2. He even believes that Jesus is John raised from the dead. 
  3. His passions are out of order both in his marriage and at this birthday party. 
  4. He makes terrible blunders and promises a dancing girl whatever she wants. 
  5. His wife is filled with evil always desiring to kill John the Baptist. 
  6. These evils accumulate and result in an unthought-of event. John is beheaded. 
  7. Only his disciples act with thoughtfulness and dignity. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  • Jesus, you alone save me from superstition, absurdity and darkness. 
  • Cast out all my fears. Only by your power, I will live in light and peace. 
  • Quiet my passions. Cool my evil desires. 
  • Give me your Spirit, and I will practice self-control. 
  • O Jesus, how many blunders I have made. No more. I will walk in your light. 
  • Do not let evil grow. Let me repent quickly of all my sinful decisions. 
  • I will be your disciple with a life full of good deeds and kindly acts. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

+ I will examine the disorders in my life. What actions should I take? 

+ I will quickly repent of every sinful action. 

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.) 

The king regretted his offer but he was fearful about what his guests would think.