Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet the Lord

August 29, 2011

The Memorial of the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist

For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Mark 6:27-29


Father, help us to stop political leaders from having the power of death in their hands. Give us the will to oppose the use of the death penalty when other alternatives such as life in prison exist so that those who may be found to be innocent never face this cruel and unusual punishment. Amen.


John was the last prophet who did not have Jesus as a model to imitate.

The parallels between the life and death of John the Baptist and Jesus continue to strike us as we hear anew the reading about the imprisonment, execution and burial of John. John came before Jesus in life, in prison, and in execution. John, the voice crying out in the wilderness, preceded Jesus in the desert and in death.

Despite his execution, John was always with Jesus and will always be with Jesus just as St. Paul told the Thessalonians. If we imitate the model that Jesus provides to us, then we too shall meet the Lord and be with Him forever.


The Commonwealth of Virginia has the nation's second most active execution chamber. Each time a prisoner on Death Row faces execution, the bishops of the two Catholic dioceses in the state write to the governor and ask for another form of punishment to be used.

Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty ( is an advocacy group seeking the same ends. As we meditate on the execution of John the Baptist today, check out this web site and learn about ways you can advocate for states to use other means of punishment such as life in prison by becoming a member, writing to political leaders or attending a vigil.