Today’s Thoughts: Today we celebrate The Passion of St. John the Baptism and our Gospel (Mark 6:17-29) is the famous story of Herod and John the Baptist. It is a rather gruesome story, it is hard sometimes to think of a young girl being presented with some one's head and then turning and giving it to her mother. Yet, I guess gruesome things happen in life every day, thankfully not in my life.
I am always struck in this story with the fact that Herod is moved by John, that he likes to listen to him, yet he gives in to the worldly pressure around him. I get the feeling Herod knows that John is right, but his power, his self-importance; his ego will not let him say yes. Herod has surrounded himself with people who push him in the wrong direction. We might say that he gives in to the peer pressure of his time!
Perhaps if Herod had heard St. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians that we find in our first reading today (1 Thessalonians 4:911) he might have acted a bit different. St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians to care one another, to work hard and to live tranquil lives. In other words, St. Paul reminds them to put the focus on God not on themselves.
There is a great line in the Letter to the Hebrews that I reflect on often, "Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels." It is great advice! Perhaps it is advice that Herod should have heard or heeded. He certainly had one of God's angels, John the Baptist in his presence.
We need to be aware that God can come to us, be present to us in many ways. We need to trust that God is with us always. We need to remember that we are a community of faith not just individuals and we need to always be aware of the struggles and joys of others because they can often bring God into our midst.
Today we are reminded – “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” May St. John the Baptist help us to see – God as our light and our salvation, and thus never fear!
Have a great Tuesday everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...