4th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Friday 5th February 2021

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St Agatha, virgin & martyr

4th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Friday 5th February 2021

Heb. 13:1-8; Ps. 26:1,3,5,8-9;
Mk. 6:14-29 (Ps Wk IV)

In the ancient world, offering someone hospitality was not only an obligation but a sacred act. Those of the ancient world were responsible for the well-being of the person to whom hospitality had been given.

Our own world has become rather cold and unfeeling. Many people are in dire need of help but are easily ignored or overlooked. People can be too ‘busy’ to think of a stranger’s needs.

Hebrews reminds us that angels walk among us anonymously — the ‘person’ to whom we extend kindness might be one of them. That is a good spiritual practice — just imagine that every person whom you meet is an angel in disguise. It could change our behaviour and attitudes.

Herod was frightened when he heard about Jesus. His guilty conscience convinced him that perhaps John the Baptist had come back to life. Even though Herod respected John, he had executed him because of a foolish promise to Salome and his desire not to lose face in front of his guests. Pride overruled justice — he did something he knew was very wrong because he did not want to lose his ‘honour’ in front of others. Perhaps we have been in similar situations. It is too easy to silence our conscience out of fear of ridicule or rejection. But John had already done his job — he prepared the way for the coming of the Lord. And we can do likewise!

Lord, grant me the courage to stand up for what I know is right.

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