Reflection Friday Week 4 Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Hebrews 13:1-8; Ps 27:1, 3, 5,8b-9abc and Mark 614-29
As we come to the last chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews Christian’s responsibilities or the qualities of a good Christian are stressed. These include, love of one’s neighbor, hospitality, reaching out for those who are in trouble, purity and spirit of contentment.
Of course this is the opposite of what we see in Herod in today’s Gospel, jealousy of Christ, unfaithfulness, threat, boasting about the beheading John the Baptist, hatred, arrogant, oppressive,and violent and lack of spirit of contentment stressed in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
This goes to reminds us that even in the early church there were circumstances that threatened love for one another addressed also by St. Paul (1 Cor 13). And the very fact that some people would take their faith and religion seriously was a threat and cause for hatred for others. This is true in the case of Herod’s hostilities towards John the Baptist and Jesus.
But unlike Herod who imprisoned John, it is the mark of a true Christian to visit one another, not just in hospice, home bound, hospitals, and nursing homes but even in prison, and to be hospitable to our neighbors. Unlike Herod and Herodias, who cared-less about their marriages, it is the mark of a good Christian, especially in this challenging time, to honor marriages and keep our vows undefiled.
Equally, challenging today is how to practice contentment in a materialistic culture engulfed in consumerism. Where do we draw the line, or say “I have enough money, homes, houses, cars, jackets, clothing etc, let me reach out to the poor and the needy”?
This, of course require not just confident that the Lord is our helper (Ps 118:6), our light and our salvation (Ps 27), but an imitation of our exemplary faith leaders, including the prophets, saints and our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and for evermore.