Today’s Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12
I read this Gospel, and I get a little uncomfortable, because it is an all too familiar scenario. Not only because it echoes Pilate and the death of Jesus, but worse than that…it echoes my own moral weakness, which ultimately, kills Jesus. Herod, engaged in an immoral relationship with another woman, who despite his power, is actually quite weak. And so we find him at his birthday celebration, no doubt, he is partying it up. Safe to assume he was drinking, and indulging, when “the daughter of the Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might asked for.” Typical guy at a party intrigued by a woman, right?
Only Herod is in for a shock, because what she asks for causes him great distress: the head of John the Baptist on a platter. And why is he distressed? Because he knows it is wrong. So why does he do it? He makes the wrong choice out of fear. He compromises truth and justice because of peer pressure. “The king was distressed but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given”. Herod was afraid … afraid to look foolish in front of his guests, afraid of the influence John the Baptist may have over the people, afraid to have a different opinion. So he gives in, makes the wrong choice, choosing his own personal interest over the truth.
Has there been a time in my own life where I was morally weak? A time that I chose to go with the popular opinion, even though I knew it was wrong? How do I allow fear and peer pressure to lead me to make the wrong choices?
That today, I speak, hear, see and live the truth. Despite what others may think.Regardless of popular opinion. No matter how afraid. This is not easy. Not for Herod, and not for me. So keep a tight grip on me today, Jesus, as I go out into this world. Guide me every step of the way. Help me to make the right choices. This is my prayer. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Laura Phelps