Saturday 31 July 2021

About Today Readings

St Ignatius Loyola

Leviticus 25:1, 8-17. O God, let all the nations praise you! – Ps 66(67):2-3, 5, 7-8. Matthew 14:1-12.

Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God. I the Lord, am your God.

Leviticus is always a hard read. Nevertheless, the passage carries a simple message in terms of dealing fairly with our neighbours. It is a timeless message.

In the Gospel, Herod’s decision to kill John the Baptist is a classic example of unfairness. Rather than a sign of cruelty, it is a sign of his weakness in submitting to the plotting of his wife and her daughter. Rather than take a moral stand and defend John’s rights, Herod consents to kill John out of fear that his capricious household will judge him for breaking the oath to his stepdaughter. His actions stand in dramatic contrast to the command of Leviticus: ‘Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God. I the Lord, I am your God.’

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