+ Mk 6: 14-29
King Herod heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore (many things) to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
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.
The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
The New American Bible
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.”Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
Saint Blaise (Armenian: Սուրբ Վլասի, Soorp Vlasi; Greek: Άγιος Βλάσιος, Agios Vlasios; Latin: Blasius; Albanian: Vlashi; Croatian: Sveti Vlaho; Hungarian: Szent Balázs; Spanish: San Blas; also known as Saint Blase, was a physician, and bishop of Sebastea in historical Armenia (modern Sivas, Turkey). According to the Acta Sanctorum, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron combs, and beheaded. He is the patron saint of wool combers. In the Latin Church his feast falls on 3 February, in the Eastern Churches on 11 February.
From being a healer of bodily ailments, Saint Blaise became a physician of souls, then retired for a time to a cavern where he remained in prayer. As bishop of Sebastea, Blaise instructed his people as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of the servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts, the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills. He is said to have healed animals (who came to the saint on their own for his assistance) and to have been assisted by animals.
In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia Agricolaus began a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius and Saint Blaise was seized. After his interrogation and a severe scourging, he was hurried off to prison, and subsequently beheaded.
Saint Ansgar (8 September 801 – 3 February 865), also known as Anskar or Saint Anschar, was a Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen – a northern part of the Kingdom of the East Franks. The See of Hamburg was designated a mission to bring Christianity to Northern Europe, and Ansgar became known as the “Apostle of the North”.