August 29, 2015
by Angela Maynard
Creighton University Student Health Services
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
Lectionary: 430/634

1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Psalm 98:1, 7-8, 9
Mark 6:17-29

Praying Ordinary Time

Webster defines Regret:

To feel sad or sorry about (something that you did or did not do): to have regrets about (something)

Urban Dictionary defines Regret:
A feeling often accompanied by sadness, shame, and guilt; regret is when you wish you had done things differently in your past.

Today’s gospel tells of how Herod saw John the Baptist as a holy and righteous man.  John addressed with Herod the fact that Herod divorced his wife in order to marry his brother’s wife Herodius.  This was considered a great impropriety under Jewish law.  Herod was afraid of John, and had him arrested and imprisoned. 

Herod threw a great birthday celebration for himself.  He was so taken by a dance performed by a young girl at his party that he promised her great things.  He would grant her anything she asked…’even to half my kingdom.”  The young girl turned to her mother, Herodius for advice on what to ask for.  Herodius despised John the Baptist just as much as Herod.  She told the girl to ask for John’s head.  King Herod was upset at this request, but he made his promise in front of so many guests at his celebration, he had to go through with his promise.  He called an executioner who carried out the beheading of John. 

I imagine Herod felt a sense of great regret.  Mark describes the king as ‘being deeply distressed.’ 

We can all take some time to reflect on a time when we may have acted one way for whatever the reason, and knew that it was a mistake.  We can ask when we felt regret?  Or, how our actions impact those around us?  We can ask what we would have done differently? 

St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of conversion.  Let us pray to St. John the Baptist, patron of conversion, for guidance in ‘doing the right thing’ even though it may not be easy.

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