Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (6: 17-29) in which tells how John the Baptist came to be killed by Herod. Today, as we remember the Beheading of John the Baptist, Fr Paul shares a little about him and the feasts we celebrate in his honour. Fr Paul says Saint John the Baptist is one of only a couple who have two feasts. One, in August, celebrates his death, and one, in June, celebrates his birth. Mary and Jesus are the only other two we do this for. And this is as it should be, for as Christ himself said, John was the greatest of the sons of men. The greatest, but also the most tragic. A prophet from before his birth, leaping in the womb to announce the coming of the incarnate God, his task was to proclaim the fulfilment of all prophecies – and thus his own obsolescence. And he did it: with unequalled courage he spread the news that he, the greatest of all men, was the least in the kingdom of heaven. His disciples, and the devil, would have preferred him to fight, to build his sect, to defeat this upstart whom he himself had baptized, to seize his place in history. But John did not – and so, rightly, he has his place, and he has glory in heaven. So on this day Fr Paul invites us to ask ‘St John the Baptist…pray for us’.