The consequences of sin run deep throughout the fabric of the world, so deep that mankind cannot free itself of the entanglement on his own. And it is for this reason Jesus came – to free us of this entanglement so that we can live the life of joy that God originally intended for his human creations. Sin has been with us since the Fall; however, sin was not with us in the beginning. In the beginning there was human innocence and a deep abiding love for God in the hearts of our first parents – Adam and Eve.
John the Baptist and Love
John the Baptist got it. He understood the power of love – the power of God’s love. John the Baptist felt love’s power in his body, heart, soul and spirit. I can only assume that love consumed him, consumed him to the point that he became nothing and love became everything. It was his deep abiding love for our Lord that led him to sacrifice his life. Love emanated through John the Baptist for all to see – including Herod. And it was love that called him to surrender all for the sake of his kinsman Jesus Christ.
It is love that gives true life – love of the Father, love of the Son and love of the Holy Spirit. When we are open to God’s love we become a beautiful conduit of love – and only a conduit. As human beings we are not capable of creating love; however, as God’s children we are invited to receive and share his love with our fellow brothers and sisters. Just as John the Baptist always pointed to Christ, we too are called to always point to Christ.
Herod, His Clan and Sin
The consequences of sin is death – death of love. You see, sin serves to separate our hearts from the love God so richly offers each and every one of us. Instead of love we experience the opposite of love in our hearts. The human heart cannot fully know love if it is full of anger, hate, shame or resentment. Instead of our hearts experiencing the true love John the Baptist knew, sin leads us to experience the opposite of love.
Herod and his clan suffered profoundly from the consequences of sin and the absence of divine love that followed. This was the result of their choosing sin over love – death over life. Let’s take a brief look at the individuals and the sins they committed.
- Herod: He was struck with infidelity, greed, envy, fear, pride, and lust. How sad it is that love was severed between him and his brother – I would guess this severing of love began in their childhood and was the result of transgenerational sin. In the end, Herod’s sin lead to the death of John the Baptist – a man who knew and lived God’s love.
- Herodias: She was struck with infidelity, pride, greed, manipulation, control, and an inability to show her daughter true motherly love. Her sin left her unable to offer her family the beautiful feminine love and comfort God desires that women give their families.
- Herodias’ daughter: I am assuming she was a young girl/teenager because girls were “married off” at rather young ages during this period. There is no indication she is married here. This young woman has already learned the false power of sexual seduction. How sad… God made Eve beautiful and desirous for Adam so that they would enjoy God’s gift of marital love. In Herod’s family sin came in and corrupted this beautiful love. I can’t even begin to think of the trauma she endured at the sight of the platter…especailly knowing this was at the request of her mother.
Choosing Another Path
The world still suffers from the consequences of sin today – the same sins Herod’s family suffered from. All too often sin, and the behavior that follows, is passed down through the generations. So how can we make a change? How can we chart a new path that leads to love? After all, even the Herods of the world are invited to turn to God. I believe the answer lies in our ability to forgive, love and pray for one another. When our hearts are full of love then there is no room for anger, hate, resentment or any other emotion that runs counter to love. Yet, we must take the steps necessary for our hearts to conform to love.
Charting a new path is not always easy – being a Christian is not always easy either. Yet, we must take the steps necessary to make a change in this world. This begins with developing an understanding that love is eternal and Jesus Christ is a constant we can count on. We must reach out to him in times of trouble (and times of joy – he loves that too!). We must pray for those in need – especially individuals like Herod. We must make God a priority in our lives. Being Catholic we are presented with many, many opportunities to draw nearer to our Lord –the Mass, the sacraments, novenas, the Rosary and on the list goes.
Today’s Divided World
There is much division in the world today and this gives us limitless opportunities to pray and more fully conform our hearts to the heart of Jesus Christ. Remember we are called to pray for those who persecute us – I would guess that John the Baptist prayed for Herod’s conversion. We must remember that all of mankind is subject to sin and by ourselves we are powerless. Our power comes from God, through Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. When we reach out to the Holy Trinity love expands and beautiful things happen in the world. There is nothing more beautiful than a human heart filled with brotherly love.
The Nine Faces of Struggle
Sometimes we will become “stuck”, not knowing how to escape from pain and heartache. As human beings we walk around in a world filled with emotions that run counter to love. Over my years of practice I have identified what I call the “Nine Faces of Struggle”. These are common blocks I have witnessed that serve to separate individuals from the healing balm of love. Here is the link if you would like to learn more: The Nine Faces of Struggle
I hope you find your way home towards the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ – the one who is love himself. May you speak and think words of love, forgiveness and mercy as you sing and praise of God’s glory! – Carolyn
Sacred Heart of Jesus – have mercy on us.
Mother Mary – pray for us.
Saint Paul – pray for us
Saint John the Baptist pray for us
Today’s Readings Hebrews 13:1-8; Psalm 27: 1,3,5,8B-9ABC; Alleluia – Luke 8:15; Mark 6:14-29
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