What is Lawful….. What is right.

Good Morning brothers and sisters !  Peace be with you !

This mornings Gospel is read from St Mark 6:14 -29.    In the reading we hear the story of the beheading of John the Baptist.   Lots of stuff going on in these few lines.   First there is King Herrod who is both not very pleased with John and at the same time intrigued with his messages.   Then there is John who is doing his thing by preaching the Good News.   There is a celebration where the daughter dances.   The daughter who acts just like kid, and the wife who can be painted as angry and bitter or as the wife trying to please her husband.

Herrod, who is sitting there having married the wife of his brother Phillip.  Is being told by John the Baptist that he is wrong, and it is against the law for you to have married your brothers wife.    Now, you have to remember that Herrod is King.  So if Herrod is king.. and the king makes up the law, how is it that its not lawful for Herrod to have what ever he wants ?    It is not the law of the land that John speaks to Herrod about, it is the spiritual law that Moses refers to.

By Jewish law, it is not permitted for a man to marry his brothers wife, while the brother still lives.     Now in modern day this whole thing might never have been an issue since Phillip probably wouldnt have married Herodius, since Herodius was the daughter of his half brother ( making her his neice).      So the daughter spoken of in the Gospel was actually Saolme, the teenaged daughter of  Phillip and Herodius and not the daughter of  King Herrod and Herodius.

Alright, so then now we know that Herrod is mad at John for having the nerve to tell him he cant have Herodius who he already has.   But Herrod does not have him killed because he really wants to hear him.  Someplace in his heart of hearts he knows that what John is saying to him is right and he wants to hear more.

Next comes Salome. There is a great feast, a celebration,  good food, probably some wine.  It was Herrod’s Brithday and he loved to watch Salome dance, and so she did.  She pleased Herrod so much that in the throws of delight he goes overboard in making promises to her about what she could have if she names it.    Like any child (?) the mind probably was racing at the possibilities.   Imagine being offered anything you wanted …. anything.   She went back to consult with her mother, who prompted Salome to ask for the head of John.

You have to wonder at a few things here.   Herodius  was not in love with John since he was the one busy telling Herrod he couldnt have her.   If Herrod disowned Herodious, where would she go ?  She obviously would not be able to go back to Phillp nor did she want to.

Herodius, had tried again and again to get Herrod to do something about John but Herrod refused and just left him in prison.  Herodius seized the opportunity at Herrods promises to get her way.     You really need to ask at this point why things went the way they did.

There was Herrod, who after making the grand speeches of promises to his step daughter in front of everyone, who is now faced with the consequences of his words.

There is Salome, who asked her mother what she thought, got this prompting from her mother under the guise of making Herrod happy.

And then there is Herodius who seems content to do anything necessary to get what she wants.

Lastly, there is John who is there to do the Fathers will, to preach the word of God, to be the one who stands up for what is good regardless of the cost to him.

At some point in our lives we have to stop and take stock of where we are in our lives.  Putting yourself in the role of one of these characters.   It is easy to relate these character traits to some people we know.  Possibly even for ourselves.    In our day to day lives, at home, or at work, is it possible that there is a situation that you may find yourself in.  There is a problem, the situation you find yourself in is not right.  The decisions about how you deal with that problem is also found here.

You can be Herrod, and choose not to deal with it until you are forced to.   When are eventually forced to what path will you take.  The path that you know is right but will cause you to pay some personal cost, or the path that is easy and to give in to what ever you are getting pressured to do.

You can be Salome, who chooses to dance around the issue, to try to delight everyone, and make everyone happy.

Possibly you could be Herodius, who chooses what will get you the most worldly gain from the situation at hand.

The choices we are faced with, the paths we walk, the crosses we bear, and ultimately what we choose and why, are the things that define who we are as people, as Christians.

May the Lord bless us with wisdom and light !


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