Jesus taught people about God, even in the face of death! This may be a strange way to begin a blog, but it is accurate, and at the same time thought provoking. Today’s Gospel, Matthew 14, 1-12, reads like a satanic modern day novel. It addresses the lust of Herod for Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip. An evil oath made and a horrible promise kept. All of this happens because a young girl, Herodias’ daughter, dances before him. And then, it speaks of the beheading of John the Baptist, the cousin and friend of Jesus.

Why would Herod do something atrocious like this? To a man, that he quietly admired? That is one thought that screams out at us. Another thought is how did Jesus feel when He heard the news and the manner of John’s death? He was a man. He knew fear and sadness, just as you and I. John had reprimanded Herod, telling him that it was not lawful for him to lust after Herodias. For this John’s head was severed from his body to satisfy the wrath of the woman.

Jesus was preaching a revolution within people’s hearts and minds. He was advocating peace and love, not war and lust. He did not seek out wealth and riches. He could be found with the sick, the dying, the sinner, and the wretched of the earth. He was not addressing just one evil. He was overturning the lives of everyone. His call was for each person to review their lives, to see what it is, inside them that is preventing them from honoring their Father in heaven. Jesus knew that all mankind was suffering. It was suffering then; and it is suffering today. If John was beheaded, how much worse would Jesus’ own death be? “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” Yes, Jesus knew fear. He also knew, and preached with His own life, that good shall not bow down to evil.

He tells us, here in the 21st century that our lives must be lived in a manner that has concern for all. We cannot judge others. We must not. Each person that we see riding the bus, or the subway, each parent pushing a stroller, each service provider, every person that we pass by…all are struggling, are searching, all are wondering, “why me?” No one can point a finger. Not you. Not me. ALL are struggling. We don’t like this person. We don’t like that action. That person annoys us…we don’t know why… but that person annoys us. We allow our feelings, our anger, our frustrations, and our hurt to rule our lives. We should know better. We have been taught how we should live, and yet we do as we please. And Jesus, our Teacher, still says, “Come, follow Me.”

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