Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12
At that time, the reportsabout Jesusreached king Herod. And he said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. John has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in John.”
Herod had, in fact, ordered that John be arrested, bound in chains and put in prison, because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had said to Herod, “It is not right for you to have her as your wife.” Herod wanted to kill him but he did not dare, because he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.
On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced among the guests; she so delighted Herod that he promised under oath to give her anything she asked for. The girl, following the advice of her mother, said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist, here, on a dish.”
The king was very displeased, but because he had made his promise under oath, in the presence of his guests, he ordered it to be given to her. So he had John beheaded in prison, and his head brought on a dish and given to the girl. The girl then took it to her mother.
Then John’s disciples came, took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
“Herod wanted to kill him.”
The words of prophet Jere miah also stands against Herod’s action: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11). This is exactly the opposite of the malicious and wicked intent of the weak characters in the gospel reading. Herod, a per son of weak “moral backbone”, caused harm to both his brother and John the Baptist. To him, John the Baptist, having spoken the word of God and the Torah, is a stumbling block to his evil in tent. He has caused him and his brother an unfortunate lot.
An evil heart brings forth evil thoughts and actions; it injures and infringes the concern for justice and mercy. It destroys, rather than create and build. The evil heart disregards the good and wellbeing of others. It glories in pain and suffering in flicted to others. The misfortune of others is not his business. Because of these, the evil heart can easily be identified. For the human person is gifted with a faculty to know both evil and the good.
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