Readings and Reflection for February 3, Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

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FIRST READING
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, 13: 1-8

Brethren: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?” Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 27: l .3.5.8c-9abc (R. I a)
R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
whom should I dread? R/.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart would not fear.
Though war break out against me,
even then would I trust. R/.

R/. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

For there he keeps me safe in his shelter
in the day of evil.
He hides me under cover of his tent;
he sets me high upon a rock. R/.

It is your face, O Lord that I seek;
hide not your face from me.
Dismiss not your servant in anger;
you have been my help. R/.

ALLELUIA Luke 8:15
Alleluia. Blessed are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience. Alleluia

GOSPEL
“John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 6: 14-29

At that time: King Herod heard of Jesus; for his name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head in. He went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

The Gospel of the Lord.

TODAY’S REFLECTION
It has been said that ‘the evil that men do lives after them’. This saying comes true in the life of Herod who, on hearing about Jesus, exclaims, ‘it is John, whom I beheaded.’ He becomes really afraid and his past evil disturbs him. But it is equally true that ‘the good that men do lives after them’. Yes, John the Baptist continues to be relevant even in the mind of the wicked Herod. John lived a life of love and preached the same love to all including Herod, whom he told that it was unlawful for him to have his brother’s wife. Despite all odds, hatred, rejection and other evils in our quest to show love, we must ‘let brotherly love continue and must never neglect hospitality’.

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