Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Decollation of St John the Baptist

The new Missal heads today's memorial as "The Passion of St John the Baptist but it is quite unlike Christ's Passion.
I presume we are supposed to compare and contrast our own Christian community's Spirit filled lives with the live of Herod's court. It is all very disturbing, febrile with sexual tension; incestuous adultery with Herodias Philip's wife, the presence of Salome a young girl, presumably Philip's daughter, who dances so provocatively and delightfully and at a drunken party, even orgy,  for army officers and courtiers.
At he same time Herod is fascinated by what John has to say and protects John but can't protect him from this child and her mother, and more, from his own weakness of character. He is so weak and decadent that he promises half his kingdom to dancing child, he is driven entirely by his appetites.

For many in the Greco-Roman world, this vignette of the Herodian court was mirrored in the decadence of their own governors.

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