Mass Readings: Jeremiah 26:11-16,24/Matthew 14:1-12

Grim and Shocking

I’ll always remember how shocked I was as a young person when I first heard today’s Gospel. A lurid dance and a head on a platter! Grim stuff for young listeners. And, hey, still grim for us today, even as grown-ups.

But the truth is that a great deal of Scripture is shocking as well as grim. This is all part of our salvation story. As a matter of fact, all the real highlights in the life of Jesus are astonishing, and some of them grim indeed: born in a stable, miracle worker, Son of God, murdered on a cross, rising from the dead. One Christian writer has exaggeratingly said that we ought to be wearing crash helmets when we go to church. The drama is that intense, when we think about it.

Prayer: Lord, may You and Your mighty deeds never become routine to me.