Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

August 29, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

1 Corinthians 1:17-25
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11
Mark 6:17-29

A reflection on today's Scripture:

When I was in junior high, for 7th and 8th grades, we had the same nun who taught religion and almost all the other subjects. She liked to have us act out various Gospel accounts. One was the martyrdom of John the Baptist. Wisely, she did not include the dance! But, one of the girls came out from the kitchen with a platter, covered with a pan, and showed it to another girl who brought it to the "king." I liked those reenactments; they involved us in many Gospel accounts.

It was dramatic. As well it should be. This gospel is not for perusal. It shocks. The prophet has been arrested, taken away, is subject to the king's whims. This is so often the fate of the prophets. Now, because he has condemned, adultery and ravenous desire for revenge leads to John's death. The one who declared basic repentance and basic justice, who recognized the Lamb of God, is martyred.

Perhaps you and I can reenact this gospel and the biography of John the Baptist in our own lives today. How do I recognize the "One who is to come"? For He will come again. How do I apply elementary forms of justice in my life? What is the depth of my repentance? Or, more difficult, is to reflect on the Baptist confrontation with Herod about his adultery. Most likely this is not an immediate issue for you, but it continues to be now as in centuries past: fundamental infidelity and public immorality. And the lesser forms of accommodation with the ways of the world that denigrate human dignity and chastity, purity and fidelity. Perhaps there are places in our lives where the edges have been rounded down?

St. Paul makes it clear that Christ is a stumbling block. We want so much to think of His gentle presence, perfectly valid, but not His demands.

The Martyrdom of John the Baptist is also a day to pray with all the martyrs who persevered through the most difficult of human suffering. They help us find purpose in our own suffering. There is a glory to be exhibited. It is under the cover on the platter. When it is lifted, God's rising Son is displayed.

- Rev. Stephen H. Gratto

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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