Saint of the Day: John the Baptist
Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist.
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God
by which the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.
— excerpt from the Canticle of Zechariah, Luke 1:76–79
Scripture of the Day: Death of John the Baptist
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore [many things] to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
— Mark 6:17–29
Question of the Day 1: why is there evil in the world?
As today’s scripture makes clear: the lust, revenge, desire for human respect, other deadly sins that dwell in our own hearts, and disregard for God are what beget the evil in the world (see Mark 7:21–23)
Question of the Day 2: to what truth do you close off your ears?
Question of the Day 3: what in your heart prevents you from drawing close to God?
Question of the Day 4: will you heed the call of John the Baptist, who said “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Mark 1:3)?