FRIDAY, 4th WEEK OT – February 8, 2019
[Heb 13:1-8 ; Mk 6:14-29]
King Herod is a coward with a vacillating heart. On the one hand he does have some interest in spiritual matters, on the other he is most eager to preserve his power position under all circumstances. Though being a secret admirer of the new and straightforward prophet John the Baptist, he has him arrested because of the envy of his illegal wife, who felt insulted. Yet, Herod ‘liked to listen’to the imprisoned man.
However, at a frivolous birthday party suddenly a great embarrassment arises. After the wine and the excitement of a young dancing girl, the King, in front of all the important guests, utters a disturbing promise. For Herodias, the jealous Queen, this is the moment to act. And the King, faced with an unexpected critical situation, lacks the courage to listen to the voice of his own conscience and to have justice prevail over the concern with his own reputation. Even knowing that John is‘a righteous and holy man’, he orders his execution just to appease the audience.
This is unfortunately how politics often work; we can see it all around. However, more fruitful to us might be to ponder on the classical passions and evil thoughts we can easily identify as contributing to this disconcerting tragedy. Here we have at least: gluttony, sexual excitement, avarice, anger, vainglory and self-esteem, that is, the greater part of Evagrius’ list of capital vices. This could leave us with the question of what we, personally, could do to contribute – with God’s help – to the struggle against the Devil, to the continuing of brotherly and sisterly love (cf.Heb13:1)and to the coming of God’s Kingdom in our world.