August 29, 2020 – Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

“May the mighty witness given by St John the Baptist, to remain firm and convinced in the values of the Kingdom, even in the face of martyrdom, be a big challenge to all us in this secular world!

(Based on the Memorial of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist)

“Here’s the smell of the blood still…
All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

Oh, oh, oh!”

This is the infamous line uttered by Lady Macbeth, in Shakespeare’s famous work, “Macbeth”.

Having successfully plotted in killing King Duncan…
… Lady Macbeth, the main character of the play, undergoes a terrible and dreadful agony of the guilt and culpability of the murder.

The death of innocent blood haunts and torments her soul and plunges her into deep distress.

The consequence of a deadly sin can paralyze one’s mind and soul to deep ordeals of torture and anguish!

Today on this Memorial of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist, the Gospel of the Day presents one such character – King Herod…
…. who underwent an intense tribulation after having murdered John the Baptist, an innocent and holy man.

And invites us to make an honest examination of conscience in the light of this “murder most foul!”

King Herod had exercised his authority and sinfulness by beheading John the Baptist. (Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-27).

The demon of guilt and shame of a “murder most foul” kept haunting him.

In this dizzy and shaken state of mind, King Herod hears about the deeds and wonders of another man, Jesus. (Mk 6: 14-16)

His guilt-filled and confused mind is unable to grasp the identity of this new man who works marvels and so he asks:
“I had John beheaded; WHO IS THIS MAN about whom I hear such wonders?” (Mk 6:16)

The king hounded by sin and shame failed to grapple the mystery of the Son of God, the King of kings!

Herod’s question is perhaps, one the most important question ever asked or answered – “WHO IS THIS MAN?”

Being confused about who Jesus is, is not new trend…
… this is especially seen in the Gospel of St Luke.

In Lk 5:21 – At the healing of the paralytic, the Scribes and Pharisees begin to ask, “WHO IS THIS who speaks blasphemy?”

In Lk 7:19 – The disciples of John the Baptist question Him, “ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS TO COME, or should we look for another?”

In Lk 7:49 – After the pardon of the sinful woman who washed His feet, the others, who were invited for the meal commented, “WHO IS THIS who even forgives sins?”

In Lk 8:25 – After witnessed the calming of the sea and the storms, the disciples inquire, “WHO then IS THIS, who commands even the winds and the sea, and they obey Him?“

In Lk 9:20 – Jesus Himself asks His disciples, “WHO do you say AM I?“

In Lk 20:2 – The chief priests and scribes question Jesus, “By what AUTHORITY ARE YOU doing these things? Or who is the one WHO GAVE YOU AUTHORITY?“

In Lk 22:70 – The council of elders and the chief priests and the scribes question Jesus, “ARE YOU then THE SON OF GOD?“

The persona of Jesus surpasses great minds and cannot be arrested by hardened hearts!

The character of Jesus baffles proud mentalities and cannot be captured by cynical spirits!

Human explanations fail to encompass the mystery of Jesus.

Secular approaches fail to be fascinated by the glory of Jesus.
Philosophical interpretations fail to explain the depth of Jesus.

King Herod was greatly disturbed with a guilty conscience and a sinful heart.

He was threatened by the mighty deeds of Jesus, who was being considered a King.

The sinful and corrupt Kingdom of Herod was facing a challenge by the pure and holy Kingdom of God!

What is my approach to Jesus and His awesome Kingdom?

Am I, like King Herod…
…. filled with fear and doubts because of my sinful conscience and guilty mind?

Am I eager, like King Herod…
… to see some miracles of Jesus, just to satisfy my curiosity, but not for repentance?

Am I hesitant to encounter the Lord…
… because that could mean having a transformation and renewal of my life?

Like Lady Macbeth or King Herod, the burden of our sins and weakness might plague us..

But the Lord promises His treasure of peace, tranquility and harmony if we seek Him in sincerity!

The consequence of a deadly sin can paralyze one’s mind and soul to deep ordeals of torture and anguish!

The perfumes of Arabia cannot cleanse us.

The wealth of the world cannot satisfy us.

But the Blood of Christ will purify us…

The Body of Christ will strengthen us
The Word of Christ will enliven us!

There is true salvation, genuine joy and true happiness…
…. if we approach the Lord with a repentant heart!

May the mighty witness given by St John the Baptist, to remain firm and convinced in the values of the Kingdom…
… even in the face of martyrdom, be a big challenge to all us in this secular world!

May St John the Baptist intercede for us, to live a life of commitment and conviction!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “You must choose –

It is better that there should be thorns in your garden in order to have roses…

… Or that there should be no roses in your garden in order to have no thorns!”

One thought on “August 29, 2020 – Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

  1. Thank you so much On Sat, 29 Aug 2020 at 8:25 AM, Reflection Capsules wrote:

    > > > > > > > Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS posted: ” > “May the mighty witness given by St John the Baptist, to remain firm and > convinced in the values of the Kingdom, even in the face of martyrdom, be a > big challenge to all us in this secular world! > > > > (Based on the Memorial of the Martyrdom of St John the ” > > > >

    Like

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