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Wednesday 29 August 2018    (other days)
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist 
 (Wednesday of week 21 in Ordinary Time)

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

Year: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Red.

St John the Baptist
Apart from Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist is the only saint in the General Calendar 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.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Bede the Venerable (673 - 735)
Bede was born in the north of England, near the monastery of Wearmouth. He joined that monastery, and spent all his life there or at Jarrow, teaching and writing. He was the outstanding ecclesiastical author of his time. He wrote commentaries on Scripture; an ecclesiastical history of the English people, which is a unique and irreplaceable resource for much of early English history; and the first martyrology (collection of saints’ lives) to be compiled on historical principles. He was also the first known writer of English prose, though this has not survived. He died at Jarrow on 25 May 735, teaching and working until the last moments of his life. He is venerated as the “light of the Church” in the Dark Ages, and as a forerunner of the 8th and 9th century renaissance of the Western Church.

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)1 Peter 1:13-14 ©
Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth, but make a habit of obedience.

Noon reading (Sext)1 Peter 1:15-16 ©
Be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.

Afternoon reading (None)James 4:7-8,10 ©
Give in to God: resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.

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Office of Readings for Wednesday of week 21

Morning Prayer for Wednesday of week 21

Evening Prayer for Wednesday of week 21

Full page including sources and copyrights

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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