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. 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´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." 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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe
in your wondrous shining glory, although this is hidden
from my eyes. I hope in the peace and
everlasting joy of the world to come, for this world
is a valley of tears. I love you, even
though I am not always able to discern the love
in your intentions when you permit me to suffer.
You are my God and my all.
Lord, let me never fear the consequences of speaking
1. Speaking Truth to Power: Although Herod
was a cruel tyrant, John the Baptist did not hesitate
to condemn his adulterous conduct and to denounce his
sin publicly. John was moved by the Holy Spirit to
give witness and teach the people that no one
can legitimately violate God’s commandments, not even a king.
John did not fear the consequences of his actions,
because he knew that if he were faithful, God would
be at his side and never let him down,
even if he had to suffer on account of the
truth. We, too, need to give courageous witness to
our family, friends and to the society at large.
When we do, God will be with us and we
will have nothing to fear.
2. It Was Something That
You Said: Mark tells us that Herod, although he resented
what John said in accusing him of adultery, nonetheless
“like[d] to listen to him,” and he was “much
perplexed.” In his moral weakness, he persisted in his sin,
yet the cries of the prophet to repent did
reach his conscience. Herod was in confusion. Something was
stirring in his conscience; the Holy Spirit was moving inside
him to bring him to true repentance for his
sin. God never abandons the sinner, but gives him
grace to turn back to him. We should never lose
hope for one who seems to be lost and
wandering in sin. We should always continue to speak the
truth with love and pray for a full conversion.
God can change the heart of even the worst
of sinners. He has forgiven us so much, and he
can forgive others as well.
3. A Conversion Cut Short:
The Gospel tells how Herod, in an imprudent promise to
Herodias’ daughter, found himself compromised and, for fear of
losing face, had to order the beheading of John
the Baptist. Here his moral weakness overcame the first
stirrings of the grace of conversion. He closed his heart
to God’s action due to his lust and vanity,
and he committed the terrible crime of murder of an
innocent man. How sin can darken the conscience and
extinguish God’s grace in the heart of a person
given over only to satisfying their passions.
Christ: Lord, I want to be faithful
to your teachings and to be frank with those I
love who need to hear your word. I know
that takes prudence, courage and steadfastness. Help me to be
true to you. Give me the grace of a
good conscience always to speak the truth with rectitude
and love for your law.
Resolution: I will
pray for the grace to witness to the truth,
“in season and out of season,” no matter what the