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Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (29th August, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
 
1Thess 2:1-8;
Ps 138:1-3.4-6. (R. v.1);
Matt 23:23-26.

According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod, who was tetrarch, or sub-king, of Galilee under the Roman Empire, had imprisoned John the Baptist because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis) and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I as wife, cf. Matt 14:3-4; Mk 6:17-18; Lk 9:7-9. On Herod's birthday, Herodias's daughter danced before Herod and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. Through the instigation of her mother, she preferred the head of John the Baptist on a dish. Though Herod was deeply grieved but her request prevailed because of Herod’s oaths and for his guests, cf. Mk 6: 26-28.[1]
Topic: Nothing is hidden from God.
Jesus further denounced the scribes and the Pharisees,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind leaders! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
This corroborates with the words of Prophet Micah in chapter 6 verse 8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Many erroneously think like the scribes and the Pharisees that by doing tithing and other offerings they hide their atrocities from God.
Activities in churches today also downplay these weightier matters of the law. Almost every bit of energy is geared towards offerings. There are several strategies for achieving this and new ones are coming up daily. Yet little or no effort is channelled towards conversion.
Unfortunately, no one can hide his/her sins from God, cf. Ps 69:5. 139:15; Heb 4:13. He will bring everything to light, cf. 1Cor 4:5. Hence Jesus tells us, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” including our sins (Lk 12:2).
There is need for total transformation, cf. Rom 12:2. We ought to avoid “eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6:6). Herod beheaded John the Baptist because of eye-service. And unless we become true servants of Christ, we might do worse things. Let no one be deceived; everyone will reap what he/she sows, cf. Gal 6:7.
Bible Reading: Rom 12:9-21.
Thought for today: Do not please humans.
Let us pray: May God help us serve Him with our whole being – Amen.
Saint John the Baptist – Pray for us.
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