Friday, February 4, 2011

The Many Faces of Evil

Poor Herod. He really didn't have a choice. With all those guests around, he simply had to have John the Baptist beheaded, since he had publicly promised the daughter he had sired by his brother's wife she could have anything she wanted. And well, after all... what could he do when she requested the head of John on a platter?? No matter that he was the king. All those people were there.
This type of thinking in today's Gospel (Mark 6: 14-29) is still with us today. We are often more concerned with what others will think of us than doing the right thing. We refer to it as "peer pressure", although in many cases (like Herod's) those involved are anything but peers. People in positions of power, whether priest or politician, often succumb to the false notion that we have to do anything the "people" want. We forget that oiur first obligation is always to God.
But "the people" are not exempt either. Certainly everyone involved in this sordid incident - Herodias, the daughter, the guests - bear part of the blame. It has been said that "all it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing." Well, there also has to be someone who is responsible for doing the evil. So, we need to take a look at ourselvees and see if we are in either category.
Do we do evil things? Now I know we don't like to talk in such sharp terms, but isn't that what a lot of sin is - doing evil? It certainly seems that way when you are on the receiving end, be it lies, gossip, cheating...Evil is afoot. And if, in a particular situation, we are not doing the evil act, are we permitting it, which is itself evil? Or just being silent about it, which is also evil? In any given day, we may find ourselves involved in one of these, and we need to remember this gospel. Herod ordered the deed. The wife suggested it to her daughter. The daughter used the promise to put Herod in a difficult (at least he thought so) position, and the guests just kept quiet. They were all involved in the evil.
So, what will I do today? Will I wear one of the many faces of evil, or will I reflect the face of God?

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