Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Losing Your Head

But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.Matthew 14:6-11

Too many people lose their heads, or their jobs, or their status because of some rising star with an ego too big to share the stage with anyone. The politics of human competition is neither healthy nor compassionate. It is always cruel and abusive, smashing the weakest so that power isn't threatened. John the Baptist was already in prison and yet the wealthy and powerful feared him so much that he had to disappear, punished for his honesty and faithfulness. This kind of cruel competitiveness is everywhere in society, even in the church. God can use our cruelty and competition to teach us, but should we really continue to encourage these behaviors? My mother has said that they church is the one place where the wounded get beat up even more.

Today, I want to live as one committed to changing the pattern of power and abuse. We are able to stand in the face of power and protect the vulnerable. We are those who can proclaim today, a life of compassion and mercy for everyone.

O Jesus … grant that, even if you are hidden under the unattractive disguise of anger, of crime, or of madness, I may recognize you and say, "Jesus, you who suffer, how sweet it is to serve you." ~ Mother Teresa

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