At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The violence described in the gospel today is as horrific as what we see in our world. It is difficult, at best, to make any sense of it, and yet not nearly as foreign an experience as one would wish. In the face of this unjust violence, the disciples take a very simple action; they walk to Jesus to share the news with him.
Their care for him gave them purpose in a moment that should have led to despair. Their strength comes with going to Jesus to share news that is important to them (and him). They find their hope in him, as do the millions who have assembled in Krakow, Poland in his name.
The disciples took a pilgrimage to Jesus; World Youth Day has been a pilgrimage for Jesus; and each of our lives is a pilgrimage with Jesus. Today, as we walk along our individual journeys, we can pray the prayer of WYD 2016. A prayer of pilgrimage, for in Jesus we can find the strength to persevere no matter what hindrances may come.
God, merciful Father,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman”.
We entrust to you in a special way
young people of every language, people and nation:
guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today
and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits
from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.
grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.
Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,
hope to those who are discouraged,
love to those who feel indifferent,
forgiveness to those who have done wrong
and joy to those who are unhappy.
Allow the spark of merciful love
that you have enkindled within us
become a fire that can transform hearts
and renew the face of the earth.
Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
Saint John Paul II, pray for us.
Saint Faustina, pray for us.
—Official Pilgrim Prayer: World Youth Day—Krakow 2016