3 Feb 2012
Before the time of his eternal sleep,
Samuel bore witness before the Lord and his anointed:
â€œNo property, not so much as a pair of shoes,
have I taken from anyone!â€
And no one accused him.
Even after he had fallen asleep, he prophesied
and made known to the king his death,
and lifted up his voice from the ground
in prophecy, to blot out the wickedness of the people.
Â After him Nathan rose up
to prophesy in the days of David.
As the fat is set apart from the offering of well-being,
so David was set apart from the Israelites.
He played with lions as though they were young goats,
and with bears as though they were lambs of the flock.
In his youth did he not kill a giant,
and take away the peopleâ€™s disgrace,
when he whirled the stone in the sling
and struck down the boasting Goliath?
For he called on the Lord, the Most High,
and he gave strength to his right arm
to strike down a mighty warrior,
and to exalt the power of his people.
So they glorified him for the tens of thousands he conquered,
and praised him for the blessings bestowed by the Lord,
when the glorious diadem was given to him.
For he wiped out his enemies on every side,
and annihilated his adversaries the Philistines;
he crushed their power to our own day.
In all that he did he gave thanks
to the Holy One, the Most High, proclaiming his glory;
he sang praise with all his heart,
and he loved his Maker.
He placed singers before the altar,
to make sweet melody with their voices.
He gave beauty to the festivals,
and arranged their times throughout the year,
while they praised Godâ€™s holy name,
and the sanctuary resounded from early morning.
The Lord took away his sins,
and exalted his power forever;
he gave him a covenant of kingship
and a glorious throne in Israel.
After him a wise son rose up
who because of him lived in security:
Solomon reigned in an age of peace,
because God made all his borders tranquil,
so that he might build a house in his name
and provide a sanctuary to stand forever.
How wise you were when you were young!
You overflowed like the Nile with understanding.
If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.â€ So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Â King Herod heard of it, for Jesusâ€™ name had become known. Some were saying, â€œJohn the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.â€ But others said, â€œIt is Elijah.â€ And others said, â€œIt is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.â€ But when Herod heard of it, he said, â€œJohn, whom I beheaded, has been raised.â€
Â For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philipâ€™s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, â€œIt is not lawful for you to have your brotherâ€™s wife.â€ 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 he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, â€œAsk me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.â€ And he solemnly swore to her, â€œWhatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.â€ She went out and said to her mother, â€œWhat should I ask for?â€ She replied, â€œThe head of John the baptizer.â€ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, â€œI want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.â€ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring Johnâ€™s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Â The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, â€œCome away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.â€ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.