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Monday, August 29, 2011

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Beheading of
St. John the Baptizer

Jeremiah 1:17-19
Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
Mark 6:17-29

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"Stand up and tell them all that I command you." —Jeremiah 1:17

John the Baptizer called the religious leaders of his time a "brood of vipers" (Mt 3:7). He said they would "burn in unquenchable fire" if they did not repent (Mt 3:12). John was the greatest prophet who had ever lived (Mt 11:11). He uncompromisingly preached a baptism in repentance (Lk 3:3). Nevertheless, John was tolerated until he "told Herod, 'It is not right for you to live with your brother's wife' " (Mk 6:18). When John condemned sexual sin, it was: "Off with his head."

Likewise, when Pope Paul VI repeated the Church's traditional condemnation of artificial birth control, he was virtually beheaded. The Vatican said that those involved in homosexual activity have the right to be loved and respected, but not the right to pervert society by their sin. When that memo was publicized, it triggered widespread Catholic-bashing and Pope-bashing. The Herods and Herodiases of the world also feel compelled to behead any Christian who opposes condoms and/or abortions. The world refuses to tolerate the truth about sex. Nevertheless, speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), even if you may be beheaded.

"Do not deceive yourselves: no fornicators, idolaters, or adulterers, no sodomites, thieves, misers, or drunkards, no slanderers or robbers will inherit God's kingdom. And such were some of you; but you have been washed, consecrated, justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor 6:9-11).

Prayer:  Father, may I love people enough to let them behead me.

Promise:  "They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord." —Jer 1:19

Praise:  St. John prophesied: "All mankind shall see the salvation of God" (Lk 3:6).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet The Truth Will Set You Free.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011

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