< <  

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

  > >

Beheading of
St. John the Baptizer

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Psalm 139
Matthew 23:27-32

View Readings
Similar Reflections

are you spiritually contracepting?

"We encouraged and pleaded with you to make your lives worthy of the God Who calls you." —1 Thessalonians 2:12

Jesus came that we might have abundant life (Jn 10:10). God is the God of the living (Lk 20:38). He wants His people to live "upright, just, and irreproachable" lives (1 Thes 2:10). The Lord wants His people to be life-giving and fruitful. In this way, He will add to our numbers daily those being saved (Acts 2:47).

However, we are tempted to be spiritually contraceptive and abortifacient. We can choose to be "like whitewashed tombs, beautiful to look at on the outside but inside full of filth and dead men's bones" (Mt 23:27). We, like Herod (Mk 6:26), can refuse to hear the words of life and can choose to kill the prophets who speak these words (see Mt 23:31-32).

In this culture of death, Jesus, the Life (Jn 14:6; 11:25), challenges us: "I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life" (Dt 30:19). Paradoxically, choose life by choosing to die to self. Abundant life comes from Jesus' death on the cross. Be crucified with Christ (Gal 2:19). Choose life.

Prayer:  Father, may I continually carry about in my body the dying of Jesus so that "the life of Jesus may be revealed" (2 Cor 4:10).

Promise:  "We thank God constantly that in receiving His message from us you took it, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God at work within you who believe." —1 Thes 2:13

Praise:  Wanting others to have life in abundance, St. John spoke truth that could have set Herod free. Because Herod did not choose life, John was chosen to die — only to receive life on high.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, February 13, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 20, 2001