Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's left behind

And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:12

When I was a child my parents entertained quite a bit and we would often sneak down, the morning after a party and feast on what was left behind. My Mom was a fabulous cook and would make cream puffs and other such delights for the guests. We went to bed too early to enjoy them at the party, but plowed into them when the parents were still sleeping. We recently had a Halloween party at our house and have enjoyed the leftover treats that we normally wouldn't cook for ourselves. All people prepare and present things to company that they would rarely do for the family. We all want to put our best foot forward and have people like us. We want to honor people by offering our best.

Today's Gospel is the story of Herod's niece who danced at her uncle's party so well that he promised her any gift she wanted. Her mother, Herodias, hated John the Baptist because he told the truth about her life. She instructed her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter which Herod reluctantly gave her. To keep a foolish promise to a comely and talented child, he fulfilled the evil desires of the mother. The dancer was never rewarded herself. And death was the outcome of a mother's selfishness.

For all the right reasons, we can do damage to our families and children by putting on a show rather than living justly. We can, without intention, inflict pain and destruction on innocent people when we are selfish. Today, I want to remember that loving and respecting others is Christ's commandment. If we love and respect others, we might avoid leaving horrible messes behind. Today, I want to remember that love and compassion impressed God. Love and justice as a way of being can change our little corners of the world. I pray we can all live this day with love and justice in everything we do.

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