Word of the day
Reading of the day
A reading from the Book of Jeremiah
JER 26:11-16, 24
The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people,
“This man deserves death;
he has prophesied against this city,
as you have heard with your own ears.”
Jeremiah gave this answer to the princes and all the people:
“It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city
all that you have heard.
Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds;
listen to the voice of the LORD your God,
so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.
As for me, I am in your hands;
do with me what you think good and right.
But mark well: if you put me to death,
it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves,
on this city and its citizens.
For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you,
to speak all these things for you to hear.”
Thereupon the princes and all the people
said to the priests and the prophets,
“This man does not deserve death;
it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us.”
So Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah,
so that he was not handed over to the people to be put to death
Gospel of the day
From the Gospel according to Matthew
Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.
Words of the Holy Father
Let us ask John for the grace of apostolic courage to always say things truthfully; that of pastoral love. This means to receive people with what little one can give, the first step; and even the grace to doubt. Because it can happen that at life’s end, one can ask himself: “is everything that I believed in true or was it just fantasy”? It is “the temptation against faith, against the Lord. It is important, then, that the great John, who is the least in the kingdom of heaven — for this he is great —, may he help us on this road in the Lord’s footsteps ”. (Santa Marta, 15 December 2016)