FRIday 03 febRuary
He was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred in the fourth century. Devotion to him spread throughout the Church during the Middle Ages. He is invoked for disorders of the throat.
Entrance Antiphon: Ps 105: 47
Save us, O Lord our God! And gather us from the nations, to give thanks to your holy name,
and make it our glory to praise you.
Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honour you with all our mind, and love everyone in truth of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Hebrews 13: 1-8
Continue to love each other like brothers, and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Keep in mind those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in the one body. Marriage is to be honoured by all, and marriages are to be kept undefiled, because fornicators and adulterers will come under God’s judgement. Put greed out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said: I will not fail you or desert you, and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing: what can man do to me? Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.
Psalm 26(27):1, 3, 5, 8-9
R/ The Lord is my light and my help.
The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom shall I shrink?
Though an army encamp against me my heart would not fear. Though war break out against me even then would I trust.
For there he keeps me safe in his tent in the day of evil. He hides me in the shelter of his tent, on a rock he sets me safe.
It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face. Dismiss not your servant in anger; you have been my help.
Gospel Acclamation: cf. Lk 8: 15
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessed are those who, with a noble and generous heart, take the word of God to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 6: 14-29
King Herod had heard about Jesus, since by now his name was well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah”, others again, “He is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.” But when Herod heard this he said, “It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.” Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.” As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him. An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, “Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.” And he swore her an oath, “I will give you anything you ask, even half 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 straight back to the king and made her request, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.” The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Prayer over the Offerings
O Lord, we bring to your altar these offerings of our service: be pleased to receive them, we pray, and transform them into the Sacrament of our redemption. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Cf. Ps 30: 17-18
Let your face shine on your servant. Save me in your merciful love. O Lord, let me never be put to shame, for I call on you.
Prayer after Communion
Nourished by these redeeming gifts, we pray, O Lord, that through this help to eternal salvation true faith may ever increase. Through Christ our Lord.
The account of the execution of John, ordered by King Herod, makes us see a retrospective not previously recorded in the Gospel. The memory of John haunted Herod; he imagined Jesus to be John raised from the dead. John the Baptist was good and holy; he bravely spoke up the truth and was killed for it. Jesus is crucified for the same reason, speaking out without fear against injustice and oppression. Herod had John beheaded out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends. Herod was a weak man. He took a firm stand on wrong things even when he knew what was right. The Lord gives his grace to the humble and to those who acknowledge their sins and seek God’s mercy and pardon. Today, more than ever, we need the Holy Spirit to make us worthy to hold to the values of Jesus. Courageous faith is not arrogant, but it is firm and enduring.