FEAST OF THE BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST.
KING HEROD and his company did after a fashion anticipate the Church in making of this day a festival. Moreover it was Herod's birthday in one sense, before it became St. John Baptist's in another.
Thus emphatically are there feasts and feasts, birthdays and birthdays.
After that carnal birthday ensued the remainder of mortal life: and after the remainder of mortal life ensued what next to Herod and his crew, to the dancing daughter and the venomous mother?
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God."
Meanwhile St. John Baptist ended his Vigil and began his Feast, ended his death and began his life.
Now there is no "after" to such a Feast, and no "next" to such a life.
"See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil."