(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press:https://www.avemariapress.com/product/1-59471-363-4/The-Living-Gospel-Daily-Devotions-for-Lent-2013/ It is available also at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Devotions-Lent-Living-Gospel/dp/1594713634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335995419&sr=8-1 )
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Ordinary 4 Friday
King Herod was a terribly conflicted man. He enjoyed listening to John the Baptist, but at the same time, he wanted to kill him. Herod knew John to speak the truth, but he feared truth’s consequences. So instead of facing the truth, Herod tried to sweep it under the carpet by having John thrown into jail.
But don’t we sometimes know the truth, but fear its consequences? Maybe we know we have to break that bad habit, but we don’t want to make the effort. Maybe we know we need to work on a problem in a relationship, but we’re worried about getting into a big fight. Maybe we know we need to make a difficult decision, but we procrastinate out of fear. Or maybe we know that we were wrong about something, but we won’t admit it or apologize, because we’re too stubborn.
In situations like these, we’re tempted to ignore the truth, instead of dealing with it courageously and constructively. The problem is: Whenever we try to avoid the truth, it’s going to come back and haunt us. King Herod actually thought that John had come back from the dead in order to haunt him! For us, we’ll be haunted by mental anguish, spiritual anguish, and even physical anguish in the form of ulcers, headaches, and backaches. Our lack of peace will affect our work and our relationships, because we’ll either become short-tempered and irritable, or we’ll retreat into our shell, and isolate ourselves. In short, whenever we deny the truth, we are denied peace.
Today’s gospel, then, presents us with a choice: We can walk Herod’s path, and become a captive to our fears. Or we can follow John the Baptist and discover that it is only the truth, even with its price, that can release us, and set us free.