The WORD in Other Words by Frt Kevin James Fizarras SVD (Portugal)
Saturday Week 17, Lv 25:1, 8-17, Mt 14:1-12
Three significant icons emerge from today‘s gospel — John, Herod, and Jesus.
John the Baptist, prophet and precursor of the Christ, baptized with water and invited the people of his time to repent and return to God. But his foremost role was to prepare the way of Jesus, the Christ. He communicated God‘s message and witnessed to the Truth that he proclaimed. Doing so inconvenienced some people around him. especially those in authority. As a consequence, he paid a great price for the mission God had entrusted him. He offered his life for the sake of Truth.
Herod the tetrach typified the rich, influential, and powerful political figure who controlled and manipulated the law, and saw himself as the law. He was troubled and distressed, for deep in his heart he recognized he was wrong. But in trying to preserve his image, authority, and selfish interests, he crossed the line by murdering John to please Herodias and his guests. Thus, Herod‘s real enemy was neither John nor Jesus. It was himself! He was actually afraid of himself.
Jesus, the Divine Word made flesh, who is the Way, Truth, and the Life, did not only come with mighty powers and great deeds but brought the God of Love in our midst by being one of us and with us! It is this God who speaks to us in the depths of our hearts, and the same God who spoke through John the Baptist and confronted the motives and desires of Herod the Tetrarch.
Today, we are invited and challenged to make a choice. We can choose to become a John or a Herod.