Theme: It’s 2022 and Herod still roams
Text: Ecclesiasticus 47:2-13; Mark 6:14-29
Let us consider the personality of John the Baptist the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth. after been trained in the desert of spiritual preparation, what came out of his mouth was just and his heart was just, and desirous for holiness. He was so great that Jesus would say that ‘Elijah returned to clean house, to prepare the way’. John was fully aware what his duties were – “to proclaim the coming of the Messiah” and nothing more. St. Augustine would say that John was only the voice, and Jesus was the Word. When he was tempted to “steal” the shine, he remained faithful. He declared: “It is not me, He is coming after me: I am the servant; I am the manservant; I am the one who opens the doors, in order that He may come”. John was he forerunner of the entire life of Jesus. He bore witness while he preached and through his martyrdom he became the “forerunner of the life and death of Jesus Christ”, as Pope Francis would teach.
At a certain point in the ministry of Jesus, John was incarcerated and he suffered the dark night of soul. When it drove him to ask Jesus questions, Jesus reminded him about the prophesy of Isaiah. At the end of this clarification and purification by Jesus, he submitted himself to God’s will.
As the Lord may have it, the John ended “under the authority of a mediocre, drunken and corrupt king, because of a dancer’s whim and because of the vindictive hatred of an adulterous woman”. Thus “the great one meets his end, the greatest man born of woman”, was slayed for a woman with his head on a platter. When I read this passage, I am moved. I think about our martyrs, today’s martyrs, those men, women, children who are persecuted, hated, driven from of their homes, tortured, massacred”. And this, “is not a thing of the past: this is happening today. Our martyrs meet their end under the authority of corrupt people who hate Jesus Christ”. We think about Governments, politicians and policy makers that make anti-life laws and subject people to suffering for the sake of their own selfish pride and ego. We think about big business firms, data companies, big pharmaceuticals who enter into several corrupt and inhuman practices for the sake of making more money.
We still have he likes of Herod and Herodias in our society. We still have those women in high and low places who deify themselves and become manipulators of those in authority. They are often in the Church, manipulating groups, Priests into their selfish goals. We think of those women who use their bodies as a marketing tool for getting what they desire. We think of mother-in-laws who glow in manipulation and wickedness. How about the likes of Salome, the daughter of Herodias? They still abound in our society, especially in our churches and schools. Many of them come in the guise of pious Christian girls and boys, youths, choristers, etc., but their deepest intention is to “dance” their ways to high places through corruption.
We must note that Brutal sins against others will not go unpunished. The sins of Herod and Herodias later hunted them and their story ended badly. John the Baptist became the hero. The only one in the Bible Jesus gave his funeral oration. May we keep faith in doing the right things even when we are neglected, misunderstood or persecuted. At the end, God is the only being that matters.
God bless you!