READINGS for 2008-08-29
Memorial of the martyrdom of John the Baptist
WHY Am I HERE?
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach… – 1 Corinthians 1:17
Here are a few of the mission statements and/ or advertising campaigns of some companies. See if you can guess which they belong to?.
“Just do it.”
“The world on time.”
“We’ve got it all for you!”
“What drives you?”
“You’re in good hands with ----bank.”
“Open 25 hours.”
“To beat Pepsi.”
They say that mission statements say precisely why one corporation exists. It directs and influences all their significant decisions.
Have you ever thought of your mission statement? Rick Warren, in his phenomenal bestseller Purpose-Driven Life, asks, “What on earth am I here for?”
It is essential that we discover our mission. It gives meaning to our lives, simplifies it, gives it focus and provides us with motivation.
St. Paul knew what he came to do. God called him to preach to the Gentiles. He was not distracted despite the hardships he endured. he remained focused to achieve this end.
“I am to preach, I am a servant of the Lord.”
What did God send you to the world to do? Lallaine Gogna
Write down or revisit your mission statement. Answer the question: Why am I here?
Father, reveal Your purposes to me. So that I can be all that You created me to be.
Jeremiah had a very difficult message to proclaim – surrender to the invading armies of Egypt and the Lord will ultimately deliver you from them. I suppose the problem in the minds of the leaders of the people was how on earth this could possibly make sense? Maybe in retrospect we might be able to say surrender would have meant less destruction of Jerusalem and its infrastructure so that when they returned from exile there would not have been a need for too much reconstruction. However, in retrospect it is easy to be wise.
Jeremiah 1:17-19 (or 1 Corinthians 1:17-25)
17 But do you 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; 18 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. 19 They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.
P S A L M
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17 (or Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11)
R: I will sing your salvation.
1 In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. (R) 3 Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. (R) 5 For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. 6 On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength. (R) 15 My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. 17 O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds. (R)
G O S P E L
John the Baptist’s life is forfeit because Herod is a man of no good moral principles. The lives of many good people are wasted and destroyed because evil seems to get the better of people who so often control the rule of power. Let us pray for our political leaders that they will never forsake the duty to act morally in the way they lead and that they will always protect the truth and dignity of their citizens at al times.
Mark 6:17-29 (or Matthew 25:1-13)
17 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. 18 John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. 20 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. 21 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. 22 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.” 23 He even swore [many things] to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 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.” 26 The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. 27 So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. 28 He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
think:Let us pray for our political leaders that they will never forsake the duty to act morally in the way they lead.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 61-65
thE dEath OF a PrOPhEt
Antipas, one Herod’s sons, felt that John the Baptist was too popular. Besides, John preached what many in higher position did not like to hear. He was a real prophet who did not shy away from telling the truth in the faces of even the most powerful. The first century Jewish historian Josephus wrote, “When others too joined the crowds about him, because they were aroused to the highest degree by his sermons, Herod became alarmed… and decided that it would be much better to strike first and be rid of him before his work led to an uprising, than to wait for an upheaval, get involved in a difficult situation, and see his mistake.”
Mark tells us still another reason for John’s arrest. In his sermons he had also rebuked Antipas who had divorced his first wife and married his half-brother’s wife, Herodias.
It is difficult to tell others the truth, for the truth hurts. How often do we please people by speaking nicely in front of them but deep in our hearts we know how wicked and evil they are. By telling the truth we may lose a position, a promotion or we may not get the financial support we need.
Even the Church has difficulty to exercising her prophetical role. A priest who confronts his congregation with the wrongdoings he has observed may not remain long in this parish. People want to hear how good they are. People want to be praised. People today would not like to listen to a John the Baptist. The great British convert and
writer G. K. Chesterton once said, “I don’t want a church that tells me when I am right. I want a church that tells me when I am wrong.” Unfortunately, not many Catholics are like Chesterton.
Only by pointing out the wrongs in society and avoid doing them can we prepare for the coming of Christ in our midst - as John the Baptist prepared for Christ’s coming by fearless preaching and by shedding his blood. Fr. Rudy Horst
Do I tend to follow the trends in society even when I feel they contradict Christ’s teachings? Do I have the courage to stand up for what is morally right?
Lord, through John the Baptist You remind me today of an important aspect in my faith journey. You need me too in this our world to point out the values of those who preached. But I am weak. Lord, send me your Holy Spirit to strengthen me for this difficult task.
St. Medericus, abbot, pray for us.
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