Going through the cast of characters in today’s Gospel, which of them could we ever resemble: Herod, Herodias, Salome, the guests.?
How do we size up next to Herod? Giving in to Herodias, he imprisoned John whom he greatly admired. He so loved listening to John talk that he sneaked down near John’s cell beneath his palace where he listened to John speaking with his jailors.
Are we anything like Herodias? Do we ever do all that we can to shut up those who oppose us?
Are we like anything like her daughter. Do we ever let a little applause go to our heads?
Are we anything like Herod’s guests who knew right from wrong while not exerting theirselves to prevent evil from being carried out?
Have you ever let yourself be momentarily crazed the way they were? Let me tell you a story of how I one was.
Fifty years ago I hired men to build a school in a remote Korean valley, and we needed sand for the concrete blocks, and for the sand we needed to borrow a U.S. trailer for hauling sand up from the ocean.
The only Americans near us were a wild bunch who slipped South Korean soldiers ashore in North Korea. When I went calling on them, the American colonel and a Korean general were getting ready to take a swift landing craft out on to the ocean for shooting sitting ducks.
When I declined their invitation to join them they said they wouldn’t lend me the trailer if I didn’t go out with them. With a Korean soldier at the helm, we shot over high waves, looking for flocks of sitting ducks in the troughs.
The colonel would shout, “Over there? Over there!” And he and the general would blaze away, with a soldier with a net on a pole scooping up what they hit. When the general got seasick, and sunk to the deck, the colonel shouted, “Come shoot with me, Father, if you want that trailer.”
Shooting sitting ducks was against my principles, but I joined the colonel, firing at his side. Soon I was crazed with it, and I was the one spotting the sitting birds, and shouting directions to the soldier at the prow, and blazing away at the poor ducks.
I was brought to the sad realization that if I didn’t hold firm I could be swept into doing regrettable things.