Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Reading 1 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 MT 14:1-12
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.
 
For the readings of the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, please go  here .


Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Take the Gospel to prayer:

The death of John the Baptist is a reminder of the destruction brought about by hatred. John spoke the truth which was not pleasant for Herod and Herodias. Herod imprisoned John in an effort to silence him. But John's message challenged the lifestyle that Herodias wanted. Consequently, she was not happy with John being silent. She wanted him totally eliminated. Through a successful plot carried out by Salome, John was beheaded.

Today, the picture still unwinds with different players. A bully takes offense at some perceived transgression. The situation escalates. The victim suffers to the point of losing to death -- end of a good reputation or positive self-esteem or despairing suicide.

Lord, help me to be a positive force in building up the world and not an instrument for tearing it apart.