“Give me, at once, the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.” –Mark 6:25
Mass Readings: August 29
First: Jeremiah 1:17-19; Resp: Psalm 71:1-6,15,17; Gospel: Mark 6:17-29
It’s amazing what a cheap price was paid for the head of St. John the Baptizer: it only took the whim of a dancing girl and her begrudging mother, and the weakness and pride of an insecure ruler, Herod, to purchase the head of the greatest man ever born before Christ (Mt 11:11). John had the most valuable beginning. An angel sent from heaven heralded his conception (Lk 1:13). He was miraculously conceived by a mother past her age of childbearing (Lk 1:18, 24-25, 36). The mother of the Lord, and Jesus Himself, visited John’s mother while he was in his mother’s womb (Lk 1:39-40). John’s body leaped for joy when he heard the voice of Mary, the mother of his Lord (Lk 1:44). People for miles around marveled: ” ‘What will this child be?’ and ‘Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?’ ” (Lk 1:66).
The Lord greatly valued John’s head. Nonetheless, the rulers of John’s country put little value upon his head, except to flaunt it at their drunken party. We Christians are in a similar position. As of this writing, some Christians are being beheaded in the Middle East for their faith. Their heads are valued as nothing except as a means to spread terror. Jesus, however, cherishes not only our heads, but even the hair on our heads. Nothing can harm us without God permitting it. Jesus allowed His head to be pierced by a crown of thorns, and God changed His pain into glory. “As for you, even the hair of your head has been counted, so do not be afraid of anything” (Mt 10:30).
PRAYER: Jesus, my head, heart, and life are all Yours.
PROMISE: “I determined that while I was with you I would speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” –1 Cor 2:2
PRAISE: St. John the Baptizer fulfilled his mission and the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3. St. John, in his humility, cried out, “[Jesus] must increase, while I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).