DAILY MASS READINGS (August 29, 2018)

MEMORIAL OF THE PASSION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (YEAR I, Red)

Reading 1 (1 THESSALONIANS 3:7-13)

A reading from the 1st Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians

We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters,
in our every distress and affliction, through your faith.
For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person
and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus
direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts, 
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

– The word of the Lord.

Or: (JEREMIAH 1:17-19)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Gird your loins;
stand up and tell them
all that I command you.
Be not crushed on their account,
as though I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land:
against Judah’s kings and princes,
against its priests and people.
They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 90:3-5A, 12-13, 14 AND 17)

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Or: (PSALM 71:1-2, 3-4A, 5-6AB, 15AB AND 17)

R.    (see 15ab)  I will sing your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R.    I will sing your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R.    I will sing your salvation.
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R.    I will sing your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R.    I will sing your salvation.

Alleluia (MATTHEW 5:10)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (MARK 6:17-29)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist 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’ 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.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Last June 24, we celebrated the birth of Christ’s cousin, whose name means “God is gracious”. Today we honor him in his Martyrdom after his prophetic ministry in preparing a people fit for the Lord. It proves that even after he proclaimed repentance and conversion and baptized many, he gave witness to the truth taught by the Lord even if it had to cause him his life. Yes, this is the testimony of Saint John the Baptist, that even though many regard him as the Christ, he professes his humility that the One mighter than him must increase, and that must decrease. In prison, he tells the truth about Herod Antipas’s marriage with Herodias, who was originally the wife of his brother Philip of Iturea. Even so, Herod feels entertained with his teachings, yet Herodias plots to have this prophet killed, and that is during the king’s birthday. She uses her daughter Salome to dance in order that a wish maybe granted, and so when it happens, the girl pleads for the head of John the Baptist. And Herod despite his enjoyment with John could not turn back, so he had the prophet beheaded. In our lives, we all want to be entertained with what makes us happy and contented. But we don’t realize that true happiness lies on the Lord, and we have to accept him with faith. We can also do this when we listen and heed what these modern day prophets of God teach, especially our Church leaders and shepherds. As we truly accept him, we also hold the fact that what he said is truth, so that like Saint John the Baptist, we may become courageous witnesses of the Good News. We don’t necessarily need to become like martyrs through bloodshed, but our sacrifices as contemporary martyrs and witnesses prove how faithful we are and we will be to the Lord and his teachings and commands that are true, through which love rejoices in it.

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