Homily for Thursday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: IS JOHN’S SPIRIT ALIVE IN OUR WORLD TODAY?
By: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily for Thursday August 29 2019
READINGS: JEREMIAH 1:17-19, PSALM 71, MARK 6:17-29
Today my brothers and sisters in Christ we celebrate the death of the greatest man born of a woman Lk. 7:28, he whom the Church celebrate both his birth and death, like the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus Christ. We celebrate Christ’s precursor Jn. 1:23, he that showed Christ to the world saying; “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” Jn. 1:29. Indeed, we celebrate a man whose life was defined by courage and truth, (he condemned the unjust ways of the scribes, Pharisees Lk. 3:7-14, and publicly refuted the illicit, adulterous and incestuous marriage of Herod to Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife Mk. 6:18), and humility (acknowledged he is not Christ and said ‘Christ must increase while he decrease’ Jn. 3:30).
Beloved in Christ all the characters in the story of Mk. 6:17-29 our Gospel passage have valuable lessons that cannot be overlooked. We examine them:
HEROD ANTIPAS: son of Herod the great, step brother of Herod Philip – who married Herodias his niece because she was the daughter of Aristobulus son of Herod the Great who was Herod Philip’s Father. This same Herodias, Herod Antipas seduced and married little wonder John the Baptist denounced it publicly. The terrible history of marriage tangles and interrelations of this family were so complicated and difficult to fathom. Herod my beloved in Christ was a man governed by lust and pleasure, who acted on impulse; these led into marrying Herodias and murdering John the Baptist. Besides, he was an odd mixture. He both feared John and respected him. Moreover, he had no will power of his own and afraid of what others might say, he became a murderer. Many at times we behave like Herod allowing lust, pleasure, impulse and the opinions of others to rule us. Today the dangers accruing from this ‘Herodic’ attitude are revealed to us, it is left for us to pattern our lives rightly or face the regrettable realities that will ensue.
HERODIAS: an embodiment of wickedness promiscuity and relentless quest for vengeance. She shows us exactly what an embittered person can do if the spirit of forgiveness is absent. She denied her daughter the once in a lifetime opportunity of becoming very rich in order to accomplish her vengeful quest. She killed the only man who confronted her with her sin so that she might sin in peace. If we do not take care we may follow the line of Herodias in our actions towards those who challenge our wrong doings. Vengeance is God’s says Holy Scripture. We cannot afford to emulate this woman; indeed and truly so, she is a disgrace to motherhood.
SALOME: the daughter of Herod Philip and Herodias who later married his niece, Philip the Tetrarch, son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra; was a spoilt child who though a princes did a solo dance that in those days was carried out by prostitutes. Following her mother’s counsel was okay but the fact that it was a terrible advice made obedience irrational and quite foolish too. Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, Salome is definitely a bad example to children. None of the qualities she typified should be emulated.
JOHN THE BAPTIST: the hero of our discussion today stands before us as a man of courage, who dared to challenge the King over his wrong ways. He stands before us as one who preferred death to falsehood; he not only lived for the truth, he died for it. He has become our teacher and guide today calling us to stand with him defending the cause of right and truth always even when death is imminent. He speaks to our living consciences today saying: ‘do not be afraid of the many Herod Antipas’ there are around, the best they can do is behead you physically robbing you of this earthly existence, your soul however will be kept secure for everlasting life’.
For the grace to follow John’s example of courage and truth as against the cowardice of Herod, the wicked, unrepentant and unforgiving spirit of Herodias and the promiscuous and irrational attitude of Salome we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
FEED AND EDUCATE ONE…