Thursday, August 29, 2013

John the Baptist and the bystanders

I don't know why it never crossed my radar before. I suppose it has something to do with the influence of the biblical movies and their depiction of the scene of today's Gospel: the beheading of John the Baptist. The focus tends to be on the "big three" players: the spineless King Herod, the scheming Herodias (simultaneously Herod's sister-in-law and consort), and the girl, manipulated and manipulating. Their extraordinarily dysfunctional family (even by today's standards!) leads to the noble prophet's head being displayed like a trophy. All, we're told, because Herod  had made some over-the-top promises and was reluctant to take them back "because of the guests."

This year I finally asked myself: how many guests were they? And why were all of them so passive? What if I had been at that dinner? Would I have looked away, hoping that someone--someone else--would say whatever needed to be said to change the terrible subject?

Is this audience-like passivity something that afflicts us today, too? Could the 21st century John count on you or me? 

1 comment:

Blanca said...

Sister it is sad but I think the guest at Herod's dinner party are the exact people that now attend the 'meal with Our Lord' on Sundays.
We just sit there and at times we too are as silent as those guest were long ago. We don't support our churches, our parish schools and yet we are outrange when they have to close down.
I have trouble reading the book of Revelations, but now I can see our future are written in the passages or our daily readings, this is one such reading. Sad but true.