Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
This Gospel is so bizarre. It’s filled with pride, jealousy, envy, vengeance, lust, avarice, vainglory. It’s even got some murder. I’m not a scripture scholar by any means, but what were the historical circumstances in that first century culture where this would take place? It just seems so outlandish. Here’s this government official hosting a party for the hoi-poloi of the area and this young woman comes in, does a dance which delights him so much he decides to give her anything she wants. That’s weird. Then, the mom talks her into getting this guy who ticked her off killed? I suppose up until that point it’s fairly reasonable. People are often motivated by desire, lust, they desire revenge.
But here’s where the story gets really pathetic: Herod knows John is a good guy, nay, a great guy. Herod’s always been intrigued by John the Baptist and frankly, a little impressed at his style. He knows he shouldn’t kill him. But, scripture tells us, because of what other people in the room might think of him, he kills him anyway. Ah. Now we get to the heart of the matter.
Maybe this pericope isn’t so bizarre. Maybe it illustrates something we all struggle with on a daily basis. What will people think of me? Two men in this story teach us very important lessons with eternal consequences. They teach us by their example. Herod teaches us to consider what will people think of me? John the Baptist teaches us: what will God think of me?
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What do you base your decisions on? What God will think of you or how people will think of you?
Who do you want to live like, Herod or John the Baptist? Why?
How can you follow John the Baptist's example in your own life?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I will follow you."
"You come first."
"Have mercy on me."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Today, put what God thinks of you first, not what other people think of you. Make God your priority and don't mind what other people think of you because of your faith. At the end of the day, take time to reflect on your day and notice how putting God first made a difference in how you acted throughout the day.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Jon Bakkelund, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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