At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
This Gospel passage reads like a great mini-series: a corrupt king, scandal, a lavish birthday party, and a death. Herod seems to be the main focus of this gospel and why not, he liked to be the center of attention. He was the King of Self-Promotion. He would have loved today’s culture of selfies and “Hey…look at me” Facebook postings.
He based a lot of his decisions on pride and popular opinion. He didn’t need to kill John but was nudged along by his wife and wanted approval from his guests. There is probably more of King Herod in all of us than we care to admit.
Instead of our own needs, how can we develop and maintain a faith practice that allows us to be reflective about our behavior, and increasingly open to making decisions in accordance with the Lord’s wishes?
—Jenni and Dan O’Brien. Dan serves as regional development director for the Wisconsin Province Jesuits. Jenni is the mother of two young children and a psychotherapist specializing in depression, anxiety, and adjustment issues with teens and adults.
I want what you want, my Lord. By asking you for guidance, nothing that I accomplish becomes ‘too much’ or ‘too burdensome.’ With your help I will make decisions better and faster, knowing that you will not lead me astray. I will have confidence that,wanting what you want, I need not worry about the outcome. So I will live my life with hope, knowing that it is your will and purpose that I accomplish.
—found in a Catholic manager’s prayer book