A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 14:1-12
1 Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
2 and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
3 Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
4 for John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
5 Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they regarded him as a prophet.
6 But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod
7 so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given,
10 and he had John beheaded in the prison.
11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.
12 His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.
Points of Reflection:
1. John the Baptist told to Herod the truth that he committed a grave sin but instead of accepting the truth and repenting, the latter had the former arrested and imprisoned.
Lesson: It is really dangerous to tell the truth or to be the messenger of the truth but we should never be afraid to tell the truth no matter who gets hurt.
2. Herodias harbored hatred and anger against John in her heart and when the opportunity came, she asked for the murder of John.
Lesson: Anger and hatred can turn one into a murderer.
3. Herodias allowed her own daughter to be her accomplice in committing a grave sin.
Lesson: Lust and personal agenda can cause an innocent child to commit sin. Mothers should show examples of good deeds to their children and not teach them to commit sin.
4. Herod ordered the murder of John “because of his oaths and the guests who were present”.
Lesson: Why can’t we swallow our pride and break a promise if only to avoid sin?
5. Herod heard of the reputation of Jesus and the mighty deeds he had done.
Lesson: Although the reading does not say, we can assume that He is afraid of the consequence of his act of murder. His conscience must be bothering him. Will he be able to sleep soundly at night?
6. In spite of his earthly powers, Herod looks foolish not to differentiate John the Baptist from Jesus. He is foolish not to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
Lesson: Political or even military power can deceive the one who holds it. Even in the present, some people are drunk with power thinking that they can do all things with impunity. Some of them do not learn their lessons even when they fall from power.