Reading 1 1 THES 3:7-13
Responsorial Psalm PS 90:3-5A, 12-13, 14 AND 17
Gospel MK 6:17-29
She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the Baptist." Mark 6:24
Our Gospel today shares the worst motherly advice in biblical history! Why would Herodias advise her daughter to demand the murder of a holy man--a man her husband feared? Herodias had a grudge against John because he boldly proclaimed the truth. The truth John told threatened Herodias’s lifestyle, her status as Herod’s wife, her security, her power "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” If Herod followed John and God’s law--she lost everything she held dear, so her response was to silence John. She desired to silence truth and to ignore God’s law for her own gain.
What a sinner! It’s easy for us to identify the evil in Herodias’s scheme. Undoubtedly, Herodias thought it was John’s fault that she could lose her place in society. She surely didn’t recognize John as the messenger of Jesus. In her mind, John was the condemner.
What about us? Do we recognize God’s truth when he sends a messenger? Do we examine ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to search our souls? It’s unlikely that any of us would marry a sibling’s spouse or even contemplate murder, but do we covet our neighbor’s spouse or bear resentment against those who speak the truth? Do we respond with humility and repentance or defensiveness? When our child or spouse asks us why we are on our smartphone instead of being present, do we put down our phones and apologize or usher them away to silence the messenger? What if our mother wants to know why we haven’t called her in so long? Do we honor our parents by the way we treat them or dismiss their concerns because they “worry too much?” If my spouse is concerned about a behavior I have displayed, can I receive this correction with humility and recognize God’s truth? Do I blame my spouse for their own behavior instead of repenting?
It’s less obvious to see in our own lives, but we all have times when we act defensively to retain our own pleasures or comforts. When we have sinned, it is difficult to be confronted with the truth, but God’s word says, “do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). God is so good! He forgives us when we turn to Him. We don’t need to protect ourselves from Him. Deuteronomy 34:2 says, "The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; Your God is faithful and true; he does what is right and fair.” There isn’t a safer place to be than in the arms of Jesus. When God sends us a messenger, it is a blessing. He desires us to grow closer to Him. Rejecting His truth is rejecting Him. Jesus plainly tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
If only we would let go of the pleasures and comforts that make us feel so secure or important or pampered, then we could see that God’s plan for us brings more joy than an app or winning an argument or 30 extra minutes of sleep could ever accomplish. Is there a vice you protect in your life that causes you to ignore God’s truth? Have you tried to silence the messenger or responded with humility and repentance? Respond to God as His child. Seek His shelter and let go of the securities of this world. It was created for your benefit, not for your destruction.
Come, Holy Spirit. Search my soul. Jesus, shine the light of your love on me and expel my attachments to the pleasures and securities of this world. Father help me turn to you as my Help, my Defender, and my Shelter. Bless me with the humility to receive your truth in my life. You are my Hope.