One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

February 06, 2009

For Friday of the Fourth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Mark 6:14-29
Hebrews 13:1-8

The Gospel tells us “Herod feared John”; that Herod knew John was “righteous and holy”; that Herod “was very much perplexed” when he listened to John speak.
John denounced the lawlessness of Herod.
Yet, the Gospel today also says Herod LIKED to listen to John.
Maybe Herod’s enjoyment of John’s words was just another of Herod’s perversions.
Herod was committing public adultery and incest, because he had married Herodias who was his niece and the wife of his living half-brother.
In the Gospel of Luke [3:7], when the repentant crowds came to John for baptism, he called them “brood of vipers.”
Since those were John’s words for everybody, even the repentant, I wonder what kind of fire came out of his mouth for Herod?
Yet Herod “liked to listen to him.”
The story of John’s death today is a flashback
Herod has heard that “mighty powers are at work in” Jesus, so Herod says Jesus must be John back from the dead.
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
We have more of John’s history from his birth to his death than we have of any other person in the Gospels and New Testament except for Jesus.
Even Jesus called John the greatest man ever born.
John scolded the crowds for their wrongdoing, demanded their personal reformation, and upheld they would burn in fire otherwise.
Even many Christians reject John’s kind of preaching today.
In so doing, they are out of touch with both John and Jesus.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” [First reading, Hebrews 13:8]
Yet, in the days of Christ the crowds listened willingly to John’s scolding, and Christ called him the greatest man ever born.
The Gospel [Lk. 1:15] tells us John was filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born.
Jesus [Jn. 16:8] says the Holy Spirit comes to convince the world concerning sin.
Once convinced of sin, we are ready to repent for God in Christ, and to be born into the kingdom of God.
To be the least-born of God in his Kingdom is more than to be the greatest born of woman on earth.
Again, in the words of Jesus [Lk. 7:28]: “among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
The Holy Spirit that filled John before he was born, that filled John’s preaching, that made John the greatest man on earth— the Holy Spirit also convinces us of sin.
Once convinced of sin, we are ready to be conceived by the Holy Spirit as the sons and daughters of God.
Even King Herod liked to listen to John’s HOLY and SPIRITED denunciations.
It would be good for us also to enjoy them, and to do much more.
Jesus [Mk. 1:14] tells us we must “repent, and believe in the Gospel”.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” [First reading, Hebrews 13:8]

That God Be Glorified in All


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