Thursday 29 August

Today is Thursday the 29 August, the memorial of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, in the Twenty First Week of Ordinary Time.

The choir of Westminster Cathedral, directed by James O’Donnell, sing O quam gloriosum by Victoria: ‘How glorious is the kingdom, where all the saints rejoice with Christ.’

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.    

A tragic story – Herod at the centre of it, intrigued and perplexed by a prophet of God, buffeted by the resentment of his vengeful wife, caught out in public by a foolish promise. Put yourself in Herod’s shoes for a moment and imagine yourself in John’s company, listening to him speaking the word of God… what might John have talked about which was engaging to listen to?

And for a moment imagine hearing Herodias’ poisonous threats against John.

Do these two contrasting scenarios remind you of any situation you have struggled with in your own life, or are struggling with now?  What helps you to make a choice which reflects the values of Christ?

As the story is read again, notice what leads up to Herod’s fatal action. Where does everything start to unravel?

As you’ve listened, perhaps you’ve pondered how to make good choices, and what makes it challenging. Reflect with Jesus about what is in your mind and heart, knowing you are held in God’s compassionate love.