Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

First Scripture Reading
1 Thessalonians 3: 7-13
Gospel Reading
Mark 6: 17-29

Opening Prayer

You love surprises, don’t You, Holy God! We need Your help to achieve holiness because we are even surprised by the depth, persistence and energy of our immorality, evil, jealousy and greed. Teach and empower us to reverence each other and ourselves with justice. Help us to use all our faculties as they are intended. Sometimes You make me feel like the bride, in the special way You treat me. But I also know that I am among the bridesmaids, waiting for your full and final wedding procession of love. Give us patience — it has been a long wait, Lord! Fortify and prepare us for the long night of waiting — so that we have enough oil to keep our hopes and lamps lit. Why are you taking so long, Bridegroom of my soul? We know that you are already mysteriously here — but we want the fullness! Ignite our faith and show us proper ways of refueling when we run low. Help us to be like John the Baptizer. He named and claimed Jesus as the Messiah. Help us to name and claim the presence of Jesus within, around and beyond us. John called people to repentance and openness to Your saving presence, in strange, wonderful and challenging ways. As John paid the price for speaking the truth You spoke in his heart, help us to lose our hearts and heads over love of You – and in following Jesus. Empower us to pay the price of discipleship.

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