The Anti-God Family
- Reading I: Leviticus 25:1,8-17
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 67
- Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:1-12
From the Compendium of Social Doctrines, 25
The precepts of the sabbatical and jubilee years constitute a kind of social doctrine in miniature[Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 13: AAS 87 (1995), 14]. They show how the principles of justice and social solidarity are inspired by the gratuitousness of the salvific event wrought by God, and that they do not have a merely corrective value for practices dominated by selfish interests and objectives, but must rather become, as a prophecy of the future, the normative points of reference to which every generation in Israel must conform if it wishes to be faithful to its God.
These principles become the focus of the Prophets’ preaching, which seeks to internalize them. God’s Spirit, poured into the human heart — the Prophets proclaim — will make these same sentiments of justice and solidarity, which reside in the Lord’s heart, take root in you (cf. Jeremiah 31:33 and Ezek 36:26-27). Then God’s will, articulated in the Decalogue given on Sinai, will be able to take root creatively in man’s innermost being. This process of internalization gives rise to greater depth and realism in social action, making possible the progressive universalization of attitudes of justice and solidarity, which the people of the Covenant are called to have towards all men and women of every people and nation.
On the Beheading of the Baptist
The biblical account portrays the beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod had imprisoned John because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis), and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I. On Herod’s birthday, Herodias’ daughter (traditionally named Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When the daughter asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison. [Source]
If there is a "holy" family like that of Joachim and Anne and Mary, there is also an "anti-God" family. Herod, Herodias and Salome present themselves as a "family" that flaunts an adulterous union, the manipulation of a child (or a teen-ager?), and a woman’s desire for revenge helped along by a husband’s lack of principles. Their victim: the last great prophet of Israel.
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