"So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Herod, Typical Sinner

        Today is the Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist. The Gospel reading from Mark 6 tells us that Herod the king married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, and John said to him that "it is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Herodias harbored a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. On the other hand, Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, so he just had him arrested and bound in prison. When Herod heard John speak, he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. [Here Herod knew that he had done something wrong, so he feared the righteous and holy John. He's perplexed about John, because it's difficult for a sinner to understand why someone wants to be holy. He still liked to listen to him because his conscience needed to be soothed.]
         Then at Herod's birthday banquet he gave, Herodias' daughter performed a dance that so delighted Herod and his guests that the king swore he would grant the girl whatever she asked of him. Herodias had her asking for the head of John the Baptist. The king was distressed, but not wishing to break his word before the guests, he gave in to the request. [Here, looking good before others overrode Herod's conscience.]
        Herod might be an evil person, but all the above comments bracketed could have described any average sinner.

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