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August 31, 2014

Mt 16: 21-27

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Suffering’s Value

Jesus makes it clear that he is destined to suffer death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. Apropos of our own suffering, Cardinal John O’Connor, a former archbishop of New York, preached a Good Friday homily in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said: “We all suffer, every one of us, youngest to oldest.  We suffer loneliness, cancer, the loss of a wife, a husband, a child; we suffer misunderstandings, family conflicts, cosmetic disfigurement, various incapacities. The world is awash in pain. How tragic if that pain is wasted; that pain that could be united with the suffering of Jesus on the cross to achieve enormous good.”

When Jesus appeared to be utterly powerless, he was radiating the greatest power ever unleashed in the world. I too can unite a headache, a backache, a heartache with Christ on the cross, and wondrous graces flow into the heart of a widow who has lost her only son in Nigeria, a lonely teenager contemplating suicide in San Francisco, a woman ravaged with cancer in New York. My pain, trifling or overwhelming, has not gone wasted.

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.

Prayer

Jesus Christ, may your death be my life, and in your dying may I learn how to live. May your struggles be my rest, your human weakness my courage, your embarrassment my honor, your passion my delight, your sadness my joy, in your humiliation may I be exalted.  In a word, may I find all my blessings in your trials. Amen.

—St. Peter Faber, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 16: 21-27

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Jesus Christ, may your death be my life, and in your dying may I learn how to live. May your struggles be my rest, your human weakness my courage, your embarrassment my honor, your passion my delight, your sadness my joy, in your humiliation may I be exalted. In a word, may I find all my blessings in your trials. Amen.

—St. Peter Faber, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Suffering’s Value

Jesus makes it clear that he is destined to suffer death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. Apropos of our own suffering, Cardinal John O’Connor, a former archbishop of New York, preached a Good Friday homily in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said: “We all suffer, every one of us, youngest to oldest. We suffer loneliness, cancer, the loss of a wife, a husband, a child; we suffer misunderstandings, family conflicts, cosmetic disfigurement, various incapacities. The world is awash in pain. How tragic if that pain is wasted; that pain that could be united with the suffering of Jesus on the cross to achieve enormous good.”

When Jesus appeared to be utterly powerless, he was radiating the greatest power ever unleashed in the world. I too can unite a headache, a backache, a heartache with Christ on the cross, and wondrous graces flow into the heart of a widow who has lost her only son in Nigeria, a lonely teenager contemplating suicide in San Francisco, a woman ravaged with cancer in New York. My pain, trifling or overwhelming, has not gone wasted.

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 30, 2014

1 Corinthians 1: 26-31

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

God’s Special Friends

Today, I would like to direct your attention to the series of profound paradoxes found in the first reading: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”

I was 14 years old when my sister gave birth to Christine. I was chosen to be her godfather. She had curly black hair, and she was beautiful, and had the sweetest smile. When her sister was born and soon began to overtake her with her skills, we realized that Christine was mentally handicapped; her brain had been damaged at birth. It took many years for my sister and brother-in-law to come to terms with this great sadness. I think that they thought it was their fault.

One day my faith-filled brother-in-law came to peace about it, and he said to me with tears in his eyes: “You know, Bob, she is the only one of our six children whom I know is going to heaven.” Christine is still alive at age 66, and I will be visiting her just about the time that you are reading this.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.

Prayer

Lord of all kindness, we ask your blessing for children who have special needs. We ask for their comfort when their living is hard. May they experience comfort if they ever feel abandoned. May they be blessed with strength to overcome challenges. May they be blessed with friendship to allow them to grow in love.

Lord, we pray for all of our children, that they may realize their dreams and live their lives in the fullness of your love and mercy. May the healing touch of mercy be there for our children. Let our hands be your hands, our words be your words and let your mercy flow through all of us who have your children in our care.

—Adapted from “A Prayer for Our Special Children,” Jan Bentham, OCSB


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord of all kindness, we ask your blessing for children who have special needs. We ask for their comfort when their living is hard. May they experience comfort if they ever feel abandoned. May they be blessed with strength to overcome challenges. May they be blessed with friendship to allow them to grow in love.

Lord, we pray for all of our children, that they may realize their dreams and live their lives in the fullness of your love and mercy. May the healing touch of mercy be there for our children. Let our hands be your hands, our words be your words and let your mercy flow through all of us who have your children in our care.

—Adapted from “A Prayer for Our Special Children,” Jan Bentham, OCSB


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

1 Corinthians 1: 26-31

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

God’s Special Friends

Today, I would like to direct your attention to the series of profound paradoxes found in the first reading: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”

I was 14 years old when my sister gave birth to Christine. I was chosen to be her godfather. She had curly black hair, and she was beautiful, and had the sweetest smile. When her sister was born and soon began to overtake her with her skills, we realized that Christine was mentally handicapped; her brain had been damaged at birth. It took many years for my sister and brother-in-law to come to terms with this great sadness. I think that they thought it was their fault.

One day my faith-filled brother-in-law came to peace about it, and he said to me with tears in his eyes: “You know, Bob, she is the only one of our six children whom I know is going to heaven.” Christine is still alive at age 66, and I will be visiting her just about the time that you are reading this.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 29, 2014

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6: 17-29

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.

When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Approaching Christ Crucified

My grandma died a few weeks ago after a decade-long struggle with an ugly mix of depression and dementia. Hers was a gradual decline, losing memory like a cook slowly peeling away the layers of an onion. Her suffering was extended, her passion drawn out. John the Baptist’s life came to a much swifter end. While his time in captivity must have been unpleasant, his passion was short and his suffering relatively abrupt.

As Christian people, we proclaim Christ crucified. It seems absurd—to celebrate Christ’s pain.  But, really, it’s the genius of Christianity.  If God can be, and is, present in the agony of the cross, then where is he not present? John’s beheading, my grandma’s decline—these are places where God can be found.

To ponder today: how do I understand the ‘foolishness’ of worshiping a God who suffered?

—Mark Bartholet lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he works with the Jesuits at  St. Peter Catholic Church. He is also a graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Prayer

Lord, how could it be that you allowed your dear cousin John to be beheaded? How could it be that you allowed James Foley, beloved journalist, to suffer a similar fate. This we know — your grace and hope fortified their spirit into life everlasting. And their quest for the truth lives on and on in the countless lives touched by their courage and love.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6: 17-29

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.

When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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August 31, 2014

Mt 16: 21-27

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Suffering’s Value

Jesus makes it clear that he is destined to suffer death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. Apropos of our own suffering, Cardinal John O’Connor, a former archbishop of New York, preached a Good Friday homily in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said: “We all suffer, every one of us, youngest to oldest.  We suffer loneliness, cancer, the loss of a wife, a husband, a child; we suffer misunderstandings, family conflicts, cosmetic disfigurement, various incapacities. The world is awash in pain. How tragic if that pain is wasted; that pain that could be united with the suffering of Jesus on the cross to achieve enormous good.”

When Jesus appeared to be utterly powerless, he was radiating the greatest power ever unleashed in the world. I too can unite a headache, a backache, a heartache with Christ on the cross, and wondrous graces flow into the heart of a widow who has lost her only son in Nigeria, a lonely teenager contemplating suicide in San Francisco, a woman ravaged with cancer in New York. My pain, trifling or overwhelming, has not gone wasted.

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.

Prayer

Jesus Christ, may your death be my life, and in your dying may I learn how to live. May your struggles be my rest, your human weakness my courage, your embarrassment my honor, your passion my delight, your sadness my joy, in your humiliation may I be exalted.  In a word, may I find all my blessings in your trials. Amen.

—St. Peter Faber, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Mt 16: 21-27

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Jesus Christ, may your death be my life, and in your dying may I learn how to live. May your struggles be my rest, your human weakness my courage, your embarrassment my honor, your passion my delight, your sadness my joy, in your humiliation may I be exalted. In a word, may I find all my blessings in your trials. Amen.

—St. Peter Faber, S.J.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Suffering’s Value

Jesus makes it clear that he is destined to suffer death on the cross for the redemption of humanity. Apropos of our own suffering, Cardinal John O’Connor, a former archbishop of New York, preached a Good Friday homily in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said: “We all suffer, every one of us, youngest to oldest. We suffer loneliness, cancer, the loss of a wife, a husband, a child; we suffer misunderstandings, family conflicts, cosmetic disfigurement, various incapacities. The world is awash in pain. How tragic if that pain is wasted; that pain that could be united with the suffering of Jesus on the cross to achieve enormous good.”

When Jesus appeared to be utterly powerless, he was radiating the greatest power ever unleashed in the world. I too can unite a headache, a backache, a heartache with Christ on the cross, and wondrous graces flow into the heart of a widow who has lost her only son in Nigeria, a lonely teenager contemplating suicide in San Francisco, a woman ravaged with cancer in New York. My pain, trifling or overwhelming, has not gone wasted.

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 30, 2014

1 Corinthians 1: 26-31

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

God’s Special Friends

Today, I would like to direct your attention to the series of profound paradoxes found in the first reading: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”

I was 14 years old when my sister gave birth to Christine. I was chosen to be her godfather. She had curly black hair, and she was beautiful, and had the sweetest smile. When her sister was born and soon began to overtake her with her skills, we realized that Christine was mentally handicapped; her brain had been damaged at birth. It took many years for my sister and brother-in-law to come to terms with this great sadness. I think that they thought it was their fault.

One day my faith-filled brother-in-law came to peace about it, and he said to me with tears in his eyes: “You know, Bob, she is the only one of our six children whom I know is going to heaven.” Christine is still alive at age 66, and I will be visiting her just about the time that you are reading this.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.

Prayer

Lord of all kindness, we ask your blessing for children who have special needs. We ask for their comfort when their living is hard. May they experience comfort if they ever feel abandoned. May they be blessed with strength to overcome challenges. May they be blessed with friendship to allow them to grow in love.

Lord, we pray for all of our children, that they may realize their dreams and live their lives in the fullness of your love and mercy. May the healing touch of mercy be there for our children. Let our hands be your hands, our words be your words and let your mercy flow through all of us who have your children in our care.

—Adapted from “A Prayer for Our Special Children,” Jan Bentham, OCSB


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord of all kindness, we ask your blessing for children who have special needs. We ask for their comfort when their living is hard. May they experience comfort if they ever feel abandoned. May they be blessed with strength to overcome challenges. May they be blessed with friendship to allow them to grow in love.

Lord, we pray for all of our children, that they may realize their dreams and live their lives in the fullness of your love and mercy. May the healing touch of mercy be there for our children. Let our hands be your hands, our words be your words and let your mercy flow through all of us who have your children in our care.

—Adapted from “A Prayer for Our Special Children,” Jan Bentham, OCSB


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

1 Corinthians 1: 26-31

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

God’s Special Friends

Today, I would like to direct your attention to the series of profound paradoxes found in the first reading: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”

I was 14 years old when my sister gave birth to Christine. I was chosen to be her godfather. She had curly black hair, and she was beautiful, and had the sweetest smile. When her sister was born and soon began to overtake her with her skills, we realized that Christine was mentally handicapped; her brain had been damaged at birth. It took many years for my sister and brother-in-law to come to terms with this great sadness. I think that they thought it was their fault.

One day my faith-filled brother-in-law came to peace about it, and he said to me with tears in his eyes: “You know, Bob, she is the only one of our six children whom I know is going to heaven.” Christine is still alive at age 66, and I will be visiting her just about the time that you are reading this.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

August 29, 2014

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6: 17-29

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.

When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Approaching Christ Crucified

My grandma died a few weeks ago after a decade-long struggle with an ugly mix of depression and dementia. Hers was a gradual decline, losing memory like a cook slowly peeling away the layers of an onion. Her suffering was extended, her passion drawn out. John the Baptist’s life came to a much swifter end. While his time in captivity must have been unpleasant, his passion was short and his suffering relatively abrupt.

As Christian people, we proclaim Christ crucified. It seems absurd—to celebrate Christ’s pain.  But, really, it’s the genius of Christianity.  If God can be, and is, present in the agony of the cross, then where is he not present? John’s beheading, my grandma’s decline—these are places where God can be found.

To ponder today: how do I understand the ‘foolishness’ of worshiping a God who suffered?

—Mark Bartholet lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he works with the Jesuits at  St. Peter Catholic Church. He is also a graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Prayer

Lord, how could it be that you allowed your dear cousin John to be beheaded? How could it be that you allowed James Foley, beloved journalist, to suffer a similar fate. This we know — your grace and hope fortified their spirit into life everlasting. And their quest for the truth lives on and on in the countless lives touched by their courage and love.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6: 17-29

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.

When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


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