The impact of words one says maybe likened to feathers thrown in the air. Once you have thrown them, it is hard to get them back. We cannot undo them once spoken. This is a reminder of how powerful words are. It has the power to encourage and discourage, to unite and to scatter, to build and destroy. My father, for example, when asked how he keeps my mother happy would simply respond, “Less talk, less mistakes.” He fears to say anything that would ruin the mood of my mother. Police officers, when arresting a criminal suspect, would say, “You have the right to remain silent; whatever you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Words are powerful. Need I mention how the world was created because of the Word.
In today’s Gospel, Herod swore to grant anything that the young girl would want. He was even willing to give half of his kingdom to her. His pronouncement, however, cost the life of John the Baptist. He could not do anything anymore but to be do as he said. As a king, he had a reputation to keep. Words, indeed, are very powerful.
The Gospel invites me to be wary with my words toward other people and especially to myself. Last Christmas vacation, in my excitement, I told an acquaintance that I would visit her when I got home. However, because schedules piled up, I could no longer come. It broke her heart when I told her I was already heading back to the seminary without even seeing her. Sometimes, because of unguarded high emotions, I could say words that I am not even sure I could deliver and they become empty promises later on. This taught me that I must learn to pause first and discern the words I say to avoid hurting people or regretting later on why I said such.
By: Sem. Paulo O. Magistrado
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
“John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others were saying, “He is Elijah”;
still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.”
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
“It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”
Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
Her mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.