Homily for February 3, Friday of the IV week of Ordinary Time, year II
I had never thought before of comparing King Herod and King David, but today’s readings make the comparison almost inevitable, and it’s actually very interesting.
Both were kings, and both had a weakness for a woman who was married to someone else: David took Bathsheba, and Herod took Herodias. In both cases, their adultery led them through a chain of actions that culminated in having an innocent man killed: David had Uriah killed by ordering him to be abandoned in the thick of battle, and Herod had John the Baptist beheaded.
Although there are similarities, there is also at least one key difference. Herod heard the remonstrances of John the Baptist, but would not act on them or change his ways. David was also reprimanded by a prophet, but unlike Herod, he repented from his evil actions and turned to penance and prayer. Herod continued in a downward spiral of ambition and spiritual blindness, rejecting Christ and eventually dying in exile. David, on the contrary, was forgiven and favored by God.
This is both a sobering and encouraging message. Sobering, because we see how sin, when unchecked, leads to more and more sin and eventually destroys the sinner. Encouraging, because we see how God is willing to forgive those who repent, and bless them and help them to make amends for their past sins, and even become great leaders. May God help us today to recognize our own sins and failings, to repent, and to follow the example of King David, who sincerely loved and served God despite His own weakness, trusting in God’s all-embracing forgiveness.