FIRST READING: Jeremiah 26: 11 - 16, 24
11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the leaders of the people: "This man must die for he has spoken against the city as you have heard with your own ears!"
12 Jeremiah replied, "I have been sent by Yahweh to prophesy against this House and this city all that you have heard.
13 Hence, reform your ways and your deeds and obey Yahweh your God that he may change his mind and not bring upon you the destruction he had intended.
14 As for me I am in your hands; do with me whatever you consider just and right.
15 But know that I am innocent and if you take my life you commit a crime that is a curse on yourselves, on the city and the people. In truth it was Yahweh who sent me to say all that I said in your hearing."
16 Then the leaders, backed by the people, said to the priests and the prophets, "This man does not deserve death; he spoke to us in the Name of Yahweh."
24 As for Jeremiah he was befriended by Ahikam, son of Shaphan, and was not handed over to those who wanted him put to death.
PSALM: Psalms 69: 15 - 16, 30 - 31, 33 - 34
15 Rescue me, lest I sink in the mire; deliver me from the storm and the deep waters.
16 Let not the flood engulf me, nor the deep suck me in, let not the pit close its mouth upon me.
30 But I myself am humbled and wounded; your salvation, O God, will lift me up.
31 I will praise the name of God in song; I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
33 Let the lowly witness this and be glad. You who seek God, may your hearts be revived.
34 For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise those in captivity.
GOSPEL: Matthew 14: 1 - 12
1 At that time the news about Jesus reached King Herod.
2 And he said to his servants, "This man is John the Baptist. John has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
3 Herod had, in fact, ordered that John be arrested, bound in chains and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
4 For John had said to him, "It is not right for you to have her as wife."
5 Herod wanted to kill him but he did not dare, because he feared the people who regarded John as a prophet.
6 On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst of the guests; she so delighted Herod
7 that he promised under oath to give her anything she asked.
8 The girl, following the advice of her mother, said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a dish."
9 The king was very displeased, but because he had made this promise under oath in the presence of the guests, he ordered it to be given her.
10 So he had John beheaded in prison
11 and his head brought on a dish and given to the girl. The girl then took it to her mother.
12 Then John's disciples came to take his body and bury it. And they went to bring the news to Jesus.