Thursday, November 3, 2011
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 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.
I have to admit a fascination with food shows and the people who star on the television food network. When we lived in north Jersey we knew a man who had his own show for a while and is a great guy with lots of talent. I love cooking and so getting ideas and inspiration from others is always fun. It can be dangerous viewing habit, making one hungry and thinking about food all of the time. And yet, it can also be a way of finding new recipes and restaurants when traveling. The truth is, for someone trying to get healthy these days, I have to be very careful what I serve up.
Herod was hosting a fancy birthday dinner party. The food was great, the company lively and the wine was flowing freely. Everyone was having a great time when things got even better when Salome danced and brought the house down. She also brought the executioners' axe down on John the Baptist. John was a truth teller and had to be silenced. It took simply some good food, drink and a sexy dance to seal his fate. We are invited today to understand how simple it is to bring the faithful down. We can be mindful of what we serve up and who we offend with the truth, but we cannot control the angry and jealous humans that we encounter.
Today I ask God to help me avoid temptation and to be thoughtful and compassionate in all my encounters. I ask God to help me be honest and a truth-teller, accepting the consequences the truth can bring. May we all rejoice that God is in the midst of us, straining to bring good from evil, and joy from mourning.