Friday, August 29, 2008
The Gospel today is rich with lessons we could learn. Perhaps the hardest one is about being told that we are wrong. That is what John the Baptist told Herod and Herodias in the Gospel today. Herod listened to John then did whatever he wanted anyway. He imprisoned John just so he could pretend he never existed. Herodias on the other hand harbored a hateful grudge and wanted to kill him. In the end her hatred was satisfied with St. John's head on a platter. Again we have much in common with these two sinners in the Gospel today. Think about how hard it is for us to hear that we are wrong. Even in the tiniest of matters we will argue and fight and allow these to escalate until real damage is often done. Why? Because "I CAN'T BE WRONG" . Why not? When we are told that we are wrong in truth it is an act of mercy. We so often do not see it that way. We feel like someone is dominating us or judging us. We feel like we have less worth or we are stupid. Sometimes we feel embarrassed and although we want to hide we lash out and fight. Varied are the reactions but their source is the same. Of course we could say pride was the source. Many accuse themselves daily of this sin, and suffer the consequences believing it is inevitable. How Hopeless this attitude is. If we look deeper and if we believe that being corrected is an act of mercy then we can see that our adverse reaction to being told we are wrong is born of our wounds. Pride too easily takes the blame. This is clearly seen in Herod. "Yeah what I'm doing is wrong but I am not changing" "I will bury it." How did he bury it? Eating, Drinking, Lust, Shopping, Power, if he were alive today we could add gambling, golfing, working out or just working, and the list goes on and on. Any diversion to keep him from listening to the words that he longs to hear. The Gospel says he liked to listen to John the Baptist. Many modern men and woman are caught up in the same struggle. The other reaction is that of Herodias. Anger, bitterness and hatred. This reaction does violence to a person and others like her own daughter and of course St. John but also to her husband and his brother Herod who she was sleeping with. Lies, gossip, detraction, manipulations, back stabbing and a lust filled desire to always get what one wants are born of this reaction even though the perpetrator is often passive aggressive. How many suffer today with this cycle of sin. Why? Because we cannot admit our faults when we are told we are wrong. We judge ourselves so harshly and are so wounded by it that we cannot stand to be corrected. But our Lord is Merciful and he wants to heal all our wounds. Being corrected even in the tiniest of things is His Mercy being showered down upon us. Today it would be good to pray for the grace to see this and accept his Loving Mercy.