Feb 8 (Mk 6:14-29)

Today, we are going to meet an astonishing son of an astonishing father….

The astonishing father is King Herod the Great…

>> He has been described as “a madman who murdered his own family”

>> He has also killed great many rabbis

>> He was one “prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition”

King Herod the Great was also known as the “the greatest builder in Jewish history”.

>> In his days, he held at least three architectural world records: the largest palace (Lower Herodium), the largest plaza (Temple Mount) and the largest royal portico (Temple Mount).

His astonishing son is King Herod Antipas

He succeeded his father, and served as tetrarch (appointed by the emperor Augustus to rule over one quarter of his father’s kingdom) from 4 B.C. until 39 A.D., almost exactly the lifetime of Jesus.

>> Like his father, Antipas had great political wit, knowing how to work situations to his advantage.

These two Herods have been responsible for two astonishing events of murders recounted in the Gospels…

>> King Herod the Great ordered the slaying of the innocent children at the birth of Jesus, the King of the world!

>> King Herod Antipas ordered the beheading of the innocent John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus, the Lamb of God!

The Gospel of the Day recounts this horrific incident of the murder of John the Baptist.

The popularity of Jesus was soaring high…

>> The people were excited with His preaching and healing ministry.

Some accepted Him.

>> Some rejected Him.

>> Some were skeptical about Him.

But in any case…

… He was being known everywhere.

When this news reached the ruler of the land, King Herod Antipas, he got terrified. (Mk 6:16)

His guilty conscience pricked him hard:

He knew that, unlike the common opinion of the public….

… this famous person was not Elijah

… this famous person was not any other prophet.

>> Instead, he assumed this famous person to be John, whom he had beheaded.

The weight of this sin was so heavy on him, that he failed to see any other possibility.

>> The stench of this sin was so strong, that he failed to sense the fragrance of Divinity.

We live in times when the world is progressively losing the “sense of sin”.

St John Paul II in His Apostolic Exhortation ‘Reconciliatio et Paenitentia,’ warns that “the loss of the sense of sin is a form or fruit of the negation of God: not only of the atheist, but also of the secularist”

The two King Herods in the Gospels – Herod the Great and Herod Antipas – represent people who have “lost this sense of sin”

Is my life trending towards this tendency…

…. a loss of the sense of sin?

>> Am I afraid to even encounter this word “sin” and use alternative words to speak about it?

>> Am I waning in consciousness of faults and failures that can cripple my spiritual life?

The Lord came to this world, primarily, as Saviour of the world…

A Saviour to give…

… salvation from sins

… healing for our wounds

… redemption from our transgressions

The Church has often been accused of being obsessed with matters of sin and transgressions..

>> In this process, many a times, Her teachings have been diluted, misinterpreted and misquoted.

The Church offers the wonderful sacrament of Reconciliation to gain back the innocence and grace of being God’s Holy Children.

Are we faithful in seeking His grace through this powerful sacrament?

… a sacrament of healing

… a sacrament of empowerment

Are we aware of the tremendous powers this sacrament carries…

… in making our life more happy?

… in ushering in, greater strength in us?

We are also invited to make “the examination of conscience” a part of our daily life and routine.

>> A regular and daily check up of the state of our life, our spiritual sphere can be a great strength and force to help us live a holy and sanctified life.

A sinful conscience can make us to astonishing and cruel deeds…

… like the King Herods

The Lord today invites us to purify ourselves, through the power of His love and redemption.

May we offer and surrender our lives to the One who can purge us away from sin and help us live a sanctified life!

Let us today seek the intercession of St Bakhita whose feast we celebrate today.

>> This saint from Sudan, was canonised in the year 2000, is a powerful symbol of love and forgiveness.

>> She rose above the “cruel” characters in her society and displayed the fruits of love and forgiveness.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ The devout person after the exercise of dismanting the heart – to review it well – must anoint it…

… with the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist!”

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