The Gospel reading from Mark 6 today is the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. If you remember, John stood up for the truth and told Herod that he was wrong to take his brother’s wife Herodias for his wife. At a party, Herod promises his dancing daughter Salome who pleased him up to half of his kingdom. Salome asked Herodias her mother what to ask for and she responded, “The head of John the Baptist.”
Who would do that? Could you imagine yourself in your angriest of states asking to have someone murdered and the head brought to you on a platter? I have read this story many times and I usually gloss over it without really thinking about the gruesome act that was committed by Herod. Sometimes I do the same with the passion of Jesus. I watch the “Passion of the Christ” each Lenten season and I have read that the true Passion was even more gruesome.
My reflection today is on the need for God’s grace. Without his grace, I believe we are all capable of falling into grave sin, even murder and beheading. I just have to look at this beautiful country I have been blessed to live in. Each morning, right before I enter my parking lot at work, I drive right past Planned Parenthood. My prayers begin for an end to abortion, an end to legal murder. Who would do that?
We would. We kill and behead the child before the baby has a chance to live. Why do I say we? Because we are one body in Christ. “If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (1 Cor 12:26) Sadly, we, even as Christians, disagree so vehemently on abortion. My point again would be the need for God’s grace because without it, we are no better than Herod and Herodias.
I wasn’t sure where I was going in this reflection. Like Pontius Pilate, “What I have written, I have written.” God, save us from ourselves and grant us the grace of conversion, transformation and surrender to your holy will. Amen.