August 3, 2013

The Gospel Today

Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”

Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
“It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
“Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):

            We heard many times this expression in Filipino “ang utos ng hari ay di nababali” which means that when a king speaks, he cannot be rebuked or the words of the king should be taken seriously.  Therefore, a responsible king should be cautious to his word. This is contrary to King Herod in the Gospel for today who, because of arrogance fulfilled his promise to Salome, the daughter of Herodias, even though it is an immoral act.

            There is no difference between a king or even an ordinary person in terms on keeping one’s word.  It is important that we know how to face people’s negative criticism when we retract our word for a better cause. We should not be persuaded by the clamors of the majority as long as what we do is for the good of others and in obedience to God. This can only happen through prayer and discernment.

            We can emulate the example of John the Baptist who bravely exposed the immoral act of a person even when that person is in the authority.  He stood by the side of truth as an expression of service to God the Almighty, the source of all Truth.

When I was still working, one of my tasks was to access and approve the release of personnel’s monthly allowance. One time I overlooked a specific information which led me to decide to hold their allowances. This led the personnel to complain to the General Manager. Though I can make an alibi I admitted my lapses which I was reprimanded. I also apologized to my co-employees for that action.

            Tomorrow’s Gospel challenges us to mean what we say. We need to stand firm in depending the truth. We need God alone and only Him.

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