Readings for Friday February 5, 2010
Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr
First Reading: Sirach 47:2-11
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18
Gospel: Mark 6:14-29
Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. His own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (Mk 6:19-29)
In today's readings, we read about two people, who both happen to be kings as well. We read of King David and King Herod. Both are rulers in the same land and of the same people, and even though both of the them have the title of king, they couldn't be any more different. We read how David trusted in the Lord, and how David and strong and mighty but how his strength came from God. We also read of how David gave thanks to God in all things and did not seek to do the will of men, but rather the will of God. Herod on the other hand, was not at all like the man David was. Herod was not one of the Lord's anointed, he was not obedient to the Lord or seeking to do His will. Herod was a king who was looking out for himself. We see how easily Herod gave in to the pressures of the world, he had John the baptist killed all because he worried what people would think of him. Herod knew that there was something special about John and that even though he did quite understand what John was saying, Herod still liked to listen to him. It seems as though the Lord gave Herod a chance to turn things around by sending him a great prophet like John, but unfortunately Herod was too entrenched in his worldly ways.
Like David and Herod, we each need to make a choice in this life. Are we going to follow the Lord, or are we going to follow ourselves? It is a choice that we each must make, and we must be able to accept the consequences of our choice. One way leads to eternal life in paradise with God, the other leads to an eternity of misery and suffering without God. Choose wisely.
Saint Agatha, pray for us that we may not give in to the temptations of this world and that we may find courage and strength in the Lord as you did. Please pray for us.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, you are so good to us, much more than we deserve, thank you for all of your love and mercy. We praise you for all that you give and all that you do, help us to be good and faithful servants of you in this life. We pray for all of our priests and for all of those who have fallen away from the church, that they ma come to know your love and mercy. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.