Universalis
Monday 29 August 2016    (other days)
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist 
 (Monday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity)

Come, let us adore the Lamb of God: Saint John went before him in his passion.

Year: C(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Red.

The Beheading of St John the Baptist
John the Baptist is the only saint in the calendar (apart from St Joseph) who has two feasts to himself. One, in August, celebrates his death, and one, in June, celebrates his birth. And this is as it should be, for as Christ himself said, John was the greatest of the sons of men.
  The greatest, but also the most tragic. A prophet from before his birth, leaping in the womb to announce the coming of the incarnate God, his task was to proclaim the fulfilment of all prophecies – and thus his own obsolescence. And he did it: with unequalled courage he spread the news that he, the greatest of all men, was the least in the kingdom of heaven. His disciples, and the devil, would have preferred him to fight, to build his sect, to defeat this upstart whom he himself had baptized, to seize his place in history. But he did not – and so, rightly, he has his place, and he has glory in heaven.
  We envy the great and the talented, and sometimes we think that they themselves are beyond envy. But when they come across someone with greater gifts, as one day most of them will, they will see for the first time what it means to feel like us. Let us pray that they, like John the Baptist, may pass that test.
  See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Liturgical colour: red
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Jeremiah 31:33 ©
This is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people.

Noon reading (Sext)Jeremiah 32:40 ©
I will make an everlasting covenant with them. I will not cease in my efforts for their good, and I will put respect for me into their hearts, so that they turn from me no more.

Afternoon reading (None)Ezekiel 34:31 ©
You, my sheep, are the flock I shall pasture, and I am your God – it is the Lord who speaks.

Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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