Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Mark 6:17a (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Tertullian: Set aside for a moment the term “prison.” Just call it a temporary retirement. Even though the body is imprisoned, even though the flesh is confined, everything still remains open to the spirit. Walk back and forth, my spirit, not thinking of shady walks or long cloisters, but of the road that leads directly to God. As often as you shall walk in this way in the spirit, so often shall you find yourself not in prison. On Martyrdom 2.

Mark 6:18 (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Chrysostom: John saw a man that was a tyrant overthrowing the divine commands on marriage. With boldness, he proclaimed in the midst of the forum, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother Philip’s wife.” So we learn from him to admonish our fellow servant as an equal. Do not shrink from the duty of chastising a brother, even though one may be required to die for it.

Mark 6:22 (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Augustine: A girl dances, a mother rages, there is rash swearing in the midst of the luxurious feast, and an impious fulfillment of what was sworn. Harmony of the Gospels 2.33.

Chrysostom: Mark 6:23 (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Do you see how easily swearing makes one witless? Thus, whatever she asked, he swore to give. What, then, if she were to have asked for your head, Herod? What if she were to have asked for your whole kingdom? Yet he took no thought of these things. Baptismal Instructions 10.26–27.

Mark 6:23 (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Chrysostom: So much did he value his kingdom, such a captive was he to his passion, that he would give it to her for her dancing. And why do you wonder that this happened then, when even now, after so much instruction in sound doctrine, many men give away their soul for the dancing of these effeminate young men with no oath needed? They have been made captives by their pleasure and are led around like sheep wherever the wolf may drag them. The Gospel of St. Matthew, Homily 49.

Mark 6:25 (ACCS Mk (Rev)): Bede: His love for the woman prevailed. She forced him to lay his hands upon a man whom he knew to be holy and just. Since he was unwilling to restrain his lechery, he incurred the guilt of homicide. What was a lesser sin for him became the occasion of a greater sin. By God’s strict judgment it happened to him that, as a result of his craving for the adulteress whom he knew he ought to refuse, he caused the shedding of the blood of the prophet he knew was pleasing to God.… Already holy, John became more holy still when, through his office of spreading the good news, he reached the palm of martyrdom. Exposition on the Gospel of Mark 2.23.

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