The Passion of Saint John the Baptist

The Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. (Mark 6:19)

What do I pass on to my children, my friends, and the other people I lead and influence? Today’s readings present a stark choice.

Herodias certainly knew how to influence her husband Herod. All she had to do was play on his weak­nesses. Divorced from Herod’s brother and now married to Herod, she was angry at the forthright way John the Baptist denounced their adultery. Although John fascinated Herod, his wife prevailed upon him to arrest John and throw him in prison, but this wasn’t enough for her—she wanted to get rid of him!

Not content to nurse her own grudge in secret, Herodias passed it on to her daughter Salome, and even used her as the bait to snare her hus­band. No doubt, Salome absorbed both her mother’s hatred for John and her lascivious tendencies, as we can see from her willingness to dance for Herod, and from the fact that she had no problem demanding the pris­oner’s head on a platter!

The contrast couldn’t be greater. On the one hand, we have Herodias: conniving, manipulative, and mali­cious. On the other hand, we have John the Baptist: honest and forth­right, never stooping to deception in order to achieve his goals. Herodias was concerned only about silencing the voice of conscience so that she could continue living as she wanted. John was committed to proclaiming a repentance that could both cleanse the conscience and place people on the path toward godliness. Herodias was concerned only for herself. John was concerned for the people of Israel and the glory of the God he worshipped. Herodias was hell-bent on getting her way. John was heaven-bent on getting God’s way.

So what do others absorb from me? Do I exude pettiness and bit­terness? Do I have a critical spirit that shifts the blame to others? Or do those who hang around me pick up nobility, gratitude, faith, gener­osity, and love? Whether we know it or not, people learn from us every day. If we choose, we can pass on to them the character of Christ!

“Father, I want to share your love with others. Cleanse me from selfishness so that I can pass on the rich heritage of faith you have given to me!”

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18; Psalm 128:1-2, 4-5

No comments: