August 29, 2013

The Gospel Today

Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Mt. 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Reflection (Sem. Ramon C. Jamora, Jr.):

          The Gospel presents us with four interesting personalities: righteous, vengeful, perplexed and ill-advised. These personalities are very common and perhaps we have encountered someone who has one of these or we may even have become one.

          I wish to share my experience of being ill-advised. It was during those years when I was so naïve of the complexity of life.  I vividly remember when I was in high school, I don’t think of the consequences of my actions. I just go with the flow for as long as I am with my friends. I would go to people who, I think, can give me the enjoyment and satisfaction that I was looking for. I would not hesitate to try new things, especially those that I find exciting.

          My escapades went from ordinary afternoon hang-outs, sleep overs and eventually to days of not coming home. My amusement took away my opportunity to improve my academics. Instead of attending my classes, I opted to hang-out in a video shop until late at night. The worst part of it all, my excitement and pleasure took me from ordinary vices to substance abuse. I thought then that I needed to experience all these things for me to mature and learn. I was not only a casualty of ill-advises from peers but also the main responsible for everything that happened to me in the past.

          Looking back, I can’t blame anyone regarding my actions. I have to accept that because of my pride of wanting to do it my way, I ended up falling short of my responsibilities. I could have done better if I only followed what is right. I have never been proud of what I had experienced. Now, I am certain that I can’t do anything to change my past but surely I can do something to improve my present and future.

          Choosing or deciding on something is not about doing what is right or wrong but doing what is better. As Christians, our option should only be what is right and good, we are only to choose between two goods nothing more, nothing less. We should not allow others to influence us, especially if it leads to doing something wrong. We should accept that in following Jesus we are only to do what is good.

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